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1 i i»j« 



fT. E. PAGE, C.H., LITT.D. 

fE. CAPPS, PH.D., LL.D. tW. H. D. ROUSE, litt.d. 

L. A. POST, L.H.D. E. H. WARMINGTON, m.a., f.r.hist.soc. 
















v; / 

First printed 1936 
Reprinted 1956, 1963 

Printed in Great Britain 











The present volume contains the first English 
translation of the poems of Sidonius. The task of 
translating the letters was originally assigned to the 
late Dr. E. V. Arnold, He had drafted a rough rend- 
ering, to which I have been repeatedly indebted for 
an apt word or phrase, but as he had not had time to 
consider fully the many problems presented by the 
Latin text, it seemed advisable to rewrite the trans- 
lation. I would fain hope that its present form is 
such as would have met with his approval. 

An attempt has been made, no doubt with in- 
different success, to discover and express the whole 
meaning of every sentence. There is a comfortable 
doctrine, which has actually been propounded with 
reference to Sidonius, that when a writer is very 
hard to understand there is no need to translate him 
accurately. It is scarcely necessary to expose this 
fallacy, but one may remark that the many serious 
mistakes made by historians and biographers through 
failure to grasp the meaning of Sidonius show that 
no one can afford to despise conscientious verbal 

The translation, especially in the case of the 
poems, is accompanied by numerous explanatory 
notes ; it would not have been intelhgible without 
them. They have involved a good deal of pioneer 
work and many excursions into paths outside the 



regular beat of a mere Latinist. I cannot expect that 
they will completely satisfy either the specialist or 
the non-speciaHst reader ; I do, however, cherish 
the hope that they will clear up some obscurities and 
that a few of them will be of some interest to students 
of history and to some other scholars. 

Shortly before his death Professor L. C. Purser, 
who had once thought of publishing a commentary 
on the poems of Sidonius, most kindly put at my 
disposal the materials which he had collected. It 
is a melancholy pleasure to express my deep gratitude 
for a thoroughly characteristic act of generosity. 
Dr. W. H. Semple was good enough to read the 
proofs of the translation and of a large part of the 
notes. I am indebted to him for many acute and 
valuable observations ; my obligations to him are 
by no means confined to the places where I have 
expressly acknowledged them. 

W. B. A. 




The sources available for our knowledge of the fifth 
century are meagre and often obscure, and the 
attempts of modern historians to reconstruct the 
facts show marked divergences. Even if the facts 
were certain, it would not be easy to present in short 
compass the history of a period so confused, so full 
of intrigues and struggles in so many countries. 

Gaul holds a position of special prominence not 
only in the career of Sidonius but in the story of the 
decline and fall of the western Empire. It is 
reasonable, therefore, to start our narrative at the 
end of the year 406, when four German peoples ^ 
(Asding and Siling Vandals, Alans, and Suevians) 
made an incursion across the Rhine, sacking Mainz, 
burning Trier, and spreading their depredations far 
and wide. The invasion of Gaul by the usurper 
Constantine from Britain in 407 may have checked 
them for a short time, but he soon allowed them to 
pursue their activities without serious opposition. 
In 409 they crossed the Pyrenees and occupied a 
large part of Spain. Meanwhile the Burgundians 

* On the geographical situation of the various German 
peoples see Bury, Later Roman Empire I., pp. 99 f . 



had likewise moved across the Rhine from their 
territory on the upper Main, and in the end the 
Emperor Honorius, making a virtue of necessity, 
allowed them to remain in occupation of the province 
of Upper Germany (Germania Prima) ^ as foederati ^ 

We must now turn to the Visigoths, who were 
destined to play a leading part in the dissolution 
of the Empire. In 410 Alaric, their king, died, a 
few months after his capture of Rome. Athaulf, his 
successor, left Italy for Gaul early in the year 412, 
carrying off with him Placidia, sister of Honorius. 
After bringing about the fall of the new usurper 
Jovinus, who had started an insurrection in 411 
and found many adherents, he made overtures to 
the Emperor, but as he refused to give up Placidia, 
nothing came of them. He then occupied Nar- 
bonne, where he married Placidia (414). Vigorous 
measures by the general Constantius made his 
situation in Gaul precarious ; he therefore proceeded 
to Spain early in the following year, probably 
intending to found a Visigothic kingdom in the 
province of Tarraconensis, which had not been 
occupied by the previous German invaders. He was, 
however, assassinated at Barcelona; seven days 

^ Its capital was Worms (Borbetomagus). 

^ The foederati were the successors of the old client-peoples 
who had acted as buffer-states to protect the Roman 
frontiers. The ruler of a " federate " people received an 
annual subsidy, which in theory represented the pay of the 
soldiers at his disposal . When necessity compelled the Romans 
to admit foreign peoples into Roman territory with the status 
of foederati, the Roman land-owners had to surrender a certain 
proportion (generally one third) of their property to the new 


later the same fate befel his successor, and WaHia 
became king. Debarred from food-suppUes by the 
Romans and foiled in an attempt to cross to Africa, 
Wallia came to terms, agreeing, in return for large 
supplies of corn, to restore Placidia and to make war 
upon the German invaders of Spain (416). On the first 
day of the following year Constantius married Placidia. 

Wallia vigorously set about his task of conquering 
his " barbarian " neighbours. In their alarm they 
sought to make terms with Rome. The Asding 
Vandals and the Suevians seem to have gained 
recognition as ** federates " of the Empire, but 
Wallia was left to work his will with the other two 
peoples. In a campaign of two years (416-418) 
he almost wiped out the Silings, and inflicted such 
grievous losses on the Alans that the survivors at 
last sought refuge with the Asdings in Gallaecia. 
The Vandal king Gunderic thus became " King of the 
Vandals and Alans," and handed down the title to 
his successors. 

Then followed a momentous event. It was decided 
to allow the Goths to settle in Gaul as foederati. 
The lands assigned to them were the province of 
Aquitanica Secunda (extending from the Loire to 
the Garonne) and adjacent portions of Narbonensis 
(including Toulouse) and of Novempopulana (west 
of Narbonensis). Thus began the Visigothic kingdom 
in Gaul. Wallia died soon after leading his people 
to their new abode, and Theodoric I reigned in his 
stead.^ The same period saw the quelUng of a 

* The arrangements for the new settlers were completed 
under Theodoric. The Goths received remarkably favourable 
terms, as the Roman land-owners had to surrender two -thirds 
of their property to them. 



serious revolution among the Aremoricans of 
Brittany.^ In Spain, soon after the departure of the 
Goths, Gunderic, king of the Vandals and Alans, 
attacked and defeated the Suevians, and, although 
more than once defeated by Roman forces, ultimately 
triumphed and established himself in the southern 
province of Baetica, from which his successor Geiseric 
was soon to aim a blow at the very heart of Rome. 

National feeUng in Gaul, wliich boded ill for the 
future of the Empire, had been accentuated in the 
time of the usurpers Constantine and Jovinus, who 
had found many adherents in that country, and it 
was further heightened by the severe measures 
which Constantius took against the ringleaders of 
the insurgents. It was more than ever necessary 
to consolidate the loyalty of the Gallo-Romans. 
From this time dates the regular custom of appointing 
natives to the office of Praetorian Prefect of Gaul 
and to the other important official posts in the country. 
Another significant measure was the organisation in 
the year 418 of the Council of the Seven Provinces 
{Concilium Septem Provinciarum), in which leading 
men of the southern provinces met every year to 
discuss matters affecting the public interest and to 
make recommendations to the authorities. Among 
the provinces which sent representatives were 

^ The Aremorici inhabited the coast-land between the Seine 
and the Loire. The troubles in Britain in the later years of the 
Roman occupation caused many of its inhabitants to emigrate 
to Ai-emorica, which owes its modem name to them. In the 
fifth century Britannus is not infrequently used to denote 
a native or inhabitant of Aremorica (cf. Sidonius, Epist. 
III. 9. 2; more explicitly Britannos supra Ligerim sitos, 
I. 7. 5), and it is not always easy to determine the meaning 
of the word. 



Aquitanica Secunda and Novempopulana ; ^ thus the 
Roman inhabitants of the occupied lands were 
stimulated to retain their Roman feelings in their 
" barbarian " environment. The council met at 
Aries, which had now become the residence of the 
Praetorian Prefect, after Trier had been sacked 
not only by the Vandals but on two occasions by the 
Ripuarian Franks from the lower Rhine. Aries 
became a proud capital, and everything possible was 
done to make it a centre of Roman influence. 

On the 2nd of July, 419, Flavius Placidus Valen- 
tinianus, the future Emperor, was born. His father, 
Constantius, was made a colleague in the Empire 
by Honorius on 8th February, 421, but died in the 
same year. He had worked hard, and with con- 
siderable success, to maintain the cohesion of the 
Empire in the West. On the 15th of August, 
423, Honorius died. After two years of the usurper 
John, the boy Valentinian came to the throne as 
Valentinian III. For the first twelve years of his 
reign his mother Placidia acted as regent. From this 
time the disintegration of the Empire proceeds 
apace, despite the emergence of a great military 
leader in the person of Aetius. The Goths, under 
Theodoric I, had turned longing eyes on the Mediter- 
ranean shores of Narbonensis. Early in the new 
reign they were hurled back by Aetius from the walls 
of Aries to their own territory, where they remained 
comparatively quiet, but always a potential source 
of danger, for a few years. The " barbarian " 
peoples on the Rhine-frontier could not be trusted 
to keep the peace for long, and the Aremorici might 

^ For an enumeration of the Septem Provinciae see note on 
Sidonius, Epist. I. 3. 2. 



cause trouble again. Gaul thus made constant 
demands upon the vigilance of Aetius. This fact, 
together with the enmity of Placidia and her partiality 
for less able supporters, prevented him from inter- 
vening in another sphere where his tried troops and 
his generalship were sorely wanted. 

In the year 427 Count Boniface, governor of the 
diocese of Africa, on being summoned home to give 
an account of his actions, disobeyed and was pro- 
claimed a rebel. Unable to cope with the forces 
sent against him, he took the fatal step of inviting 
the Vandals to come to his help from Spain. ^ King 
Gunderic lent a willing ear to this proposal, but died 
before he could carrj^ it into effect (428). His suc- 
cessor Geiseric was only too glad to complete the 
preparations. In May, a.d. 429, the combined host 
of Vandals and Alans crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. 
The Imperial government came to terms with 
Boniface, but this reconciliation made no difference 
to the greedy schemes of the Vandals. Boniface, 
now entrusted with the defence of Africa, was no 
match for the enemy, and was eventually compelled, 
in the spring of 430, to shut himself up in Hippo 
Regius, which underwent a long siege. ^ Meanwhile 
the Vandals made themselves masters of the valuable 
corn-lands of Tunisia. In this critical situation 
Placidia appealed to the eastern Emperor, Theo- 
dosius II, for help. His trusted general, Aspar, 
entered Africa with a combined force drawn from 
east and west, which perhaps succeeded in raising 
the siege of Hippo, but soon sustained a severe 

^ For a different account see Cambridge Medieval History, 
I., p. 409. 

2 It was in the course of this siege that St. Augustine, 
Bishop of Hippo, died. 


defeat (431 or 432) and was unable to prevent the 
capture of town after town by Geiseric. Soon 
almost every important place, with the exception of 
Cirta (the capital of Numidia) and Carthage, was 
in the hands of the Vandals. Not until the year 
435 did relief come. Aetius, with his formidable 
army, composed largely of Huns, seemed now in a 
position to turn his attention to Africa. Geiseric 
dared not challenge him. On the 11th of February, 
435, a treaty was concluded, whereby the Vandals 
were allowed to retain, as foederati of the Empire, 
a part of the African diocese (probably the provinces 
of Mauretania Sitifensis and Numidia and the 
north-western corner of the old proconsular province). 
With a man like Geiseric such an arrangement could 
not be permanent. An unrestricted African 
dominion was his first and chief object. His covetous 
eyes were already fixed upon Carthage. 

We must now return to Aetius. In 428 he had 
driven the Ripuarian Franks back from the left 
bank of the Rhine. Another successful contest with 
the Franks seems to have taken place about three 
years later. In the interval he had conducted 
decisive operations against the luthungi and other 
troublesome peoples in Noricum and Rhaetia,^ 
and he had been made generalissimo of the western 
forces of the Empire. In 432, the year of his first 
consulship, he was deposed from his command to 
make way for Placidia's favourite, Boniface, who was 
recalled from Africa. Thereupon he concluded a 
treaty with the Franks and marched against Boniface, 
but was defeated near Ariminum. Boniface died 
two months later, and was succeeded by his son-in- 

^ iSee fcjidonius, Carm. 7. 233 f, 



law Sebastian. Aetius betook himself to his old 
friends, the Huns, and returned to Italy with a large 
force. Placidia was compelled to reinstate him. 
The treaty with Geiseric in 435 enabled him to 
concentrate his attention once more upon Gaul. 
In that year the Burgundians, who seem to have been 
joined by Alani from Mainz, invaded the province 
of Belgica Prima (the district round Trier and Metz). 
About the same time the Ripuarian Franks descended 
upon the same province from the north, after taking 
Cologne, and Trier was captured for the fourth 
time in a quarter of a century. Matters were further 
compHcated by a revolt of the oppressed classes 
(peasants and slaves) under one Tibatto. With the 
aid of a large force of Huns from Germany, Aetius 
utterly routed the Burgundians and laid their lands 
waste (436). The Frankish invasion seems to have 
evaporated, and the capture of Tibatto quelled the 
insurrection of the Bagaudae, as they were called 
(437). But the Goths were quick to avail themselves 
of these disturbances, and once more invaded the 
Mediterranean fringe of Narbonensis. Litorius, the 
chief lieutenant of Aetius, had had to subdue a 
revolt in Aremorica;^ he now hastened southward 
and reUeved the siege of Narbonne (437). After a 
short-Hved peace, negotiated by Avitus (the future 
emperor), the Goths renewed their attacks on 
Roman territory, but Litorius in a series of battles 
drove them back. Near Toulouse, their capital, 
they turned at bay. Litorius was defeated and 
fatally wounded in a bloody battle. The Goths, 

^ Sidonius, Carm. 7. 246 f. For the subsequent events 
mentioned in this paragraph see w. 295-3 l.'i and 475-480 of 
the same poem, 



though victorious, had suffered heavily, and were in 
a mood to listen to Avitus, who had just become 
Praetorian Prefect, when he proposed terms of peace. 
It is probable that the Goths were now recognised 
as a sovereign people (no longer foederatt), and that 
their domains were increased by the cession to them 
of the whole of Novempopulana.^ 

This treaty was far from being the only blow which 
the Roman power and prestige sustained in that 
momentous year (439). Geiseric perfidiously seized 
Carthage and made himself complete master of the 
proconsular province. His ruthless expropriation of 
the land-owners, his drastic proceedings against the 
orthodox Church, and the other features of his 
conquest are related in all histories of the period and 
need not be dwelt upon here. Both Valentinian, 
who had now taken the reins of government into his 
own hands, and Theodosius, the eastern Emperor, 
were seized with consternation. Theodosius sent 
a powerful naval expedition to bring the Vandals to 
their senses, but it never got beyond Sicily, where 
it was delayed by Geiseric 's diplomacy until trouble 
nearer home necessitated its recall. A treaty was 
then made (442), in which the best provinces of Africa 
were surrendered to the Vandals, though Geiseric 
undertook to supply Rome with corn and gave his 
son Huneric as a hostage. He was soon compelled 
by disturbances in his own realm, caused by his 
despotic conduct, to seek a further rapprochement 
with the western Emperor. He brought about the 
betrothal of Huneric to Valentinian 's daughter, 

^ See Stein, Gesch. d. sfdtrom. Retches, I. 482, n. 3. Most 
authorities assign this improvement in the Gothic status to 
an earlier date ; see note on Sidonius, Carm, 7. 216 sqq. 



Eudocia, who was then six years old (445). Huneric 
(who was restored to his father at this time) was 
already married to a daughter of the Visigothic king, 
Theodoric I, but a charge of attempted poisoning 
was made a pretext for discarding her, and she was 
sent back to her father with her ears and nose cut 
off. From 442 to the death of Valentinian in 455 
Geiseric kept the peace with the Empire, though this 
did not prevent him from encouraging the designs of 
the Huns on Gaul. 

Meanwhile Aetius had been active in Gaul, but 
the details of his operations are not very clear.^ 
We learn that the Alani and the Burgundians, who 
had suffered grievously in the disaster of 436, at last 
had lands assigned them, in which they settled as 
foederati. One body of Alans found a home in the 
neighbourhood of Valence (440 or earlier), another, 
under King Goar, the old supporter of the usurper 
Jovinus, was settled near Orleans (442). In the 
following year the Burgundians received a permanent 
abode in Sapaudia (Savoy). It was apparently 
about this time that Roman troops were finally with- 
drawn from Britain. In 446 Aetius obtained the 
signal honour of a third consulship. We have scanty 
details of another rising in Aremorica, occasioned by 
the exactions of the Roman treasury. It began 
perhaps in 446, and lasted for some years ; in the end 
the Aremoricans gained a position of complete 
independence, nominally a,s foederati, and some other 
Celtic peoples who had joined them seem to have 
won the same privilege. Some time before 446 the 
Ripuarian Franks were once more flung back across 
the Rhine by Aetius. Probably after this came the 

* The account in this paragraph follows Stein, 


attempt of the Salian Franks under Ghlogio to extend 
their territory to the Somme, and their defeat near 
Vicus Helenae.^ In Spain the Suevians, under their 
king Rechiar, who had recently married a daughter 
of Theodoric, crowned their long-standing hostility 
by devastating the province of Tarraconensis, the 
great stronghold of the Roman Empire in Spain. 

The approach of the half-century was darkened by 
the growing menace of the Huns under Attila. It 
was fortunate for Aetius and for the Roman cause 
that the specious overtures of Attila were regarded 
with suspicion by Theodoric and that the mission of 
A Vitus secured the support of the Goths. The bloody 
battle of the Mauriac (or Catalaunian) Plains, near 
Troyes, in which Theodoric lost his life, saved Gaul 
from the invaders (451). Aetius, however, did not 
follow up his success. He persuaded the new Gothic 
king, Thorismund, to lead his warriors home, and 
Attila was enabled to withdraw with comparative 
ease, to ravage northern Italy and to threaten the 
existence of Rome until his death in 453. Before 
the end of this year Thorismund, who had renewed 
the old policy of Gothic expansion, was murdered by 
his brothers Theodoric and Frederic, and the former 
ascended the throne as Theodoric II. The new king 
had a tincture of Latin civiUsation, gained partly 
through the teaching of Avitus,^ and at the beginning 
of his reign he gave signal proofs of friendship. He 
resumed the " federate " status which his father had 
discarded, then he proceeded to Spain, where he 
quelled an anti-Roman peasant rising and induced 
his Suevian brother-in-law, Rechiar, to restore the 

1 Sidonius, Carm. 5. 212 sqq. 
« Sidonius, Carm. 7. 495-498. 


province of Carthaginiensis to the Empire (454). 
The western Roman world was beginning to breathe 
more freely, when it was suddenly convulsed by the 
news that Aetius had been murdered by his Emperor. 

Whatever one may think of Valentinian's motives, 
the results of this deed were serious. The Goths 
became restless, the Salian Franks under Chlogio 
took Cambrai and extended their conquests to the 
Somme, the Ripuarian Franks and the Alamanni 
once more crossed the Rhine, and Count Marcelhnus, 
who commanded in Dalmatia, declared himself 
independent of the western Empire. A conspiracy 
was formed, in which Petronius Maximus, a prominent 
noble who had filled the highest offices of state, 
joined forces with old followers of Aetius, and on the 
15th of March, 455, Valentinian met the fate which 
he had brought upon Aetius in the previous year. 
With him died that loyalty to the dynastic principle 
which had protected his family for nearly a century. 
The Empire of the West now begins to fade away 
in a miserable succession of brief reigns. The first in 
this series of ill-fated princes was the Petronius 
Maximus who has just been mentioned. Little more 
than two months after his accession he was seeking 
flight before the approach of Geiseric, whom he had 
wantonly provoked. The furious crowd fell upon him, 
stoned him to death, and tore him limb from Umb. 
The Vandals entered Rome three days later and 
plundered it for two weeks, returning at last to 
Carthage with immense booty and some very im- 
portant captives, including Eudoxia, the widow of 
Valentinian, her two daughters, and Gaudentius, 
the younger son of Aetius. 

Petronius Maximus had made Avitus a magisier 


militum} and had sent him to secure the favour of 
Theodoric for the new regime. Avitus was at the 
court of Toulouse when news came of the Emperor's 
assassination and of the sack of Rome. Theodoric 
urged him to seize the throne, and offered his support. 
Avitus allowed himself to be persuaded. A hastily 
summoned gathering of Gallo— Roman senators met 
at Viernum, or Ugernum (Beaucaire, near Arles),^ 
and enthusiastically hailed him as the future champion 
of Gaul and saviour of the Empire. On the 9th of 
July, 455, he was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers. 
He reached Rome in September, and assumed the 
consulship at the beginning of the following year. 
The Vandals claimed his immediate attention. 
Geiseric had seized the lands which had been left to 
Rome by the treaty of 442, and had declared his 
independence of the Roman suzerainty. Avitus 
tried both threats and armed force against him. An 
armament which he sent to Sicily under Ricimer 
foiled a Vandal attempt on Agrigentum and after- 
wards won a naval victory near Corsica (456). But 
the Gallic Emperor was looked on askance by the 
Italian senators, and the people began to murmur 
when a failure of the corn-supply threatened them 
with famine. Avitus agreed to lessen the number 
of mouths to be fed by dismissing the force of federate 
troops which had accompanied him from Gaul. But 
these had first to be paid ; he therefore melted down 
and sold a number of bronze statues which had 
escaped the ravages of the Vandals. An open revolt 
broke out. At the head of it were Ricimer, the 
ambitious Suevian whom Avitus had raised to the 

1 See n. on Sidonius, Carm. 7. 377 f. 
* Sidonius, Carm. 7. 572. 


second military command of the West, and Majorian, 
friend and old companion-in-arms of Ricimer, who 
had been made comes domesticorum by Valentinian 
after the murder of Aetius.^ Avitus, deprived of his 
loyal troops, was helpless, and fled to Aries. After 
a vain appeal to Theodoric, who had gone to Spain 
and was engaged in a merciless war with the Suevian 
king, he mustered a force as best he could and 
marched into Italy. Near Placentia he was defeated 
and captured. He was spared for the moment and 
allowed to become Bishop of Placentia (October 17th 
or 18th, 456) ; ^ but he could not feel safe, and soon 
attempted to return to his home in Auvergne. He 
died on the way ; possibly he was murdered. 

The fall of Avitus aroused consternation and in- 
dignation in Gaul. Both the national feeling of the 
Gallo-Romans and their loyalty to the Empire had 
received a rude shock. The central government 
had shown its weakness in many ways ; Africa was 
lost to the Empire, and the Roman name, of which 
they were proud, was sadly tarnished. In order to 
repair the distresses of the time the resources of 
Gaul had been raided with special severity. To 
Avitus the Empire had owed much in time of peril. 
Both as Gauls and as Romans they had looked to him 
to inaugurate a brighter era. And now these hopes 
had gone for ever; the Italian senators, it seemed, 
would rather let the Empire go to ruin than allow 
the supreme power to be held by one outside their 
own charmed circle. It is no wonder if this sudden 

* See n. on Sidonius, Carm. 5. 308. 

* For this merciful method of making a fallen potentate 
harmless we may compare the case of Glycerins, below, 

p. XXX. 



revulsion of feeling led to desperate measures. 
Lyons was the centre of the revolt. The rebellious 
Gallo-Roman nobles allied themselves with the 
Burgundians and admitted a Burgundian garrison 
into the town. The insurgents, or a section of them, 
seem to have invited Count Marcellinus to lead them 
and to assume the Imperial diadem.^ He had held 
a command under Aetius, and after the murder of 
his old chief he had shown vigour and decision and the 
courage of his convictions ; ^ he would be an in- 
spiring leader, and he would make short work of 
an Itahan clique if it stood in his way. Theodoric, 
who had seen in his compact with Avitus a satis- 
factory accommodation of Gothic and Imperial 
interests, was now in no mood to keep the peace. 
On his return from Spain he renewed the old attacks 
on Narbonensis. 

The coalition of Ricimer and Majorian resulted in 
the elevation of the latter to the throne (457).^ 
Whatever one may think of his part in the fall of 
Avitus, Majorian was certainly a man of ability 
and character. Apart from internal affairs, his most 
urgent task was the crushing of Geiseric. He 
enUsted a great army, composed mostly of foreign 
contingents, and prepared a large fleet, which was 
to assemble off the coast of Spain. His plan was to 
march through Gaul and Spain, gathering con- 
tingents from the federate peoples as he went, and 
then to cross the strait for a decisive struggle. He 

^ See n. on Sidonius, Epist. I. 11. 6. 

^ See above, p. xx. 

^ There is a controversy about the exact date of Majorian*8 
formal accession. See nn. on Sidonius, Carm, 5. 9 £E. and 
384 ff. 



set out late in the year 458. On his way he had to 
subdue the rebellious Gallo-Romans.^ Lyons capitu- 
lated, apparently a Uttle before the Emperor arrived 
in person, on favourable terms which seem to have 
been arranged by the quaestor Petrus.^ Majorian 
showed a wise leniency. Even the severe taxation 
which he at first imposed upon the insurgents seems 
to have been remitted, and danger from the Bur- 
gundians was removed by allowing them to occupy the 
province of Lugdunensis Prima, with the exception 
of Lyons itself. The Goths had next to be mastered ; 
this was accomplished by Aegidius, who, with the 
aid of reinforcements sent by the Emperor, drove 
them back from Aries. In their case also Majorian 
was conciliatory, and Theodoric agreed to a continua- 
tion of the old federate status.^ 

Majorian's expedition came to grief in the following 
year (460). An act of treachery enabled Geiseric to 
surprise the Roman fleet off the coast of Spain be- 
tween Cartagena and Alicante and to capture a 
great number of the ships. Majorian had to conclude 
a humiliating treaty by which Geiseric probably 
obtained legal possession of the African provinces 
which he had recently seized ; he may also have re- 
ceived at the same time Corsica, Sardinia, and the 
Balearic Islands, which were certainly in his posses- 
sion a few years later. After spending some time in 

* It seems probable that Marcellinus dissociated himself 
from the revolt when he heard that his old comrade-in-arms 
Majorian had been proclaimed Emperor. 

2 Sidonius, Carm. 5. 568-573. 

^ In this and in the preceding paragraph I have for the most 
part followed the orthodox version. Stein's ingenious 
account, though valuable, seems at times to strain the evi- 
dence, including the evidence of Sidonius. 


Gaul, Majorian returned to Italy with a small follow- 
ing, having disbanded the " barbarian " contingents 
enlisted for the Vandal campaign. On the 2nd of 
August, 461, he was attacked and captured near 
Tortona by a large body of Ricimer's armed retainers, 
and five days later he was beheaded. 

Ricimer, the Patrician (a title which he had held 
since 457),^ was now the real ruler of the West, though 
as a " barbarian " and an Arian he could not aspire 
to the throne. In November, 461 , he set up a puppet- 
Emperor in the person of Libius Severus. But he 
soon found himself in difficulties. Geiseric, who 
hated him, made piratical attacks on the coasts 
of Italy and Sicily. Marcellinus, who probably 
held the rank of magister militum in Dalmatia, and 
Aegidius, the magister militum in Gaul, threw off their 
allegiance, and Theodoric renounced the compact 
which he had made with Majorian. The eastern 
Emperor was induced to hold Marcellinus in check, 
but the troubles in the Gallic provinces were not so 
easily ended. The threatened invasion of Italy by 
Aegidius was kept off by purchasing Gothic and 
Burgundian friendship at a heavy price. The 
Burgundians, under King Gundioc, were allowed to 
occupy Lyons, and their territory was further en- 
larged, so that they barred the land-route to Italy; 
the sea-route was barred by allowing the Goths to 
seize Narbonne and the greater part of Narbonensis 
Prima, which extended from the Pyrenees to the 
Rhone (462). The Goths were also encouraged to 
extend their conquests in Spain, but when Theodoric's 
brother Frederic tried to push the Gothic power 

^ On this title as applied to Ricimer see n. on Sidonius, 
Carm. 2. 90. 



beyond the Loire he was signally defeated near 
Orleans by Aegidius (463), who had found a valuable 
ally in Childeric, king of the Salian Franks. Fortu- 
nately for Rieimer and his allies, Aegidius died in the 
follo\ving year. But the wily Vandal had still to be 
dealt >vith. Geiseric thought it politic to Usten at 
last to the representations of Leo, the eastern 
Emperor, so far as to give upEudoxia and her daughter 
Placidia, whom he sent to Constantinople ; Eudocia, 
the other daughter, who had married Huneric, was 
retained. In return for this concession he is said to 
have received as much of Eudocia's inheritance as 
was situated in the East and also a promise from Leo 
to abstain from hostiUties against him. Soon he 
addressed further demands to the West, claiming 
a large share of the property of Valentinian III, 
and making the capture of Gaudentius a pretext 
for claiming the property of Aetius. In addition he 
demanded that Olybrius, an accommodating senator 
who had married Placidia either in Africa or in 
Constantinople, should receive the sceptre of the 
West. Annual raids on Italy and Sicily reinforced his 
demands. Nothing short of a great effort of East and 
West in common had any prospect of crushing him. 

On the 14th of November, 465, Libius Severus 
died. He had really been a usurper, as Leo, who had 
never acknowledged him, had legally been the sole 
Roman Emperor since the death of Majorian.^ There 
followed seventeen months in which Leo had no col- 
league in the West. Geiseric continued to press the 
claims of Olybrius and to attack Italy and Sicily. 
At last he had the temerity to raid the Peloponnese. 

^ So lordanes, Rom. 336; but his statement has been 



Leo was stung to action. He now acceded to in- 
sistent requests from Italy, and appointed a colleague 
to rule in the West and to collaborate in a great 
offensive against the Vandals. The man of his 
choice was Anthemius, who besides being a son-in- 
law of the late Emperor Marcian had a distinguished 
record of public service to his credit. Anthemius 
was created Augustus on the 12th of April, 467. 
In the same year his daughter Alypia was given in 
marriage to Ricimer. Next year the great offensive 
was launched. Basiliscus, the commander-in-chief, 
sailed with an enormous force to take Carthage; 
an army began to march from Egypt through 
Tripolitana to co-operate in the conquest of Africa ; 
Marcellinus, who held the chief command of the 
western forces, was sent to capture Sardinia. Basilis- 
cus, after defeating a Vandal fleet sent against him, 
anchored near Carthage, and had Geiseric at his 
mercy, but the resourceful Vandal persuaded him 
(probably with the aid of a large bribe) to grant a 
truce of five days. Thereupon the Vandals brought 
up fire-ships and launched an unexpected attack, 
inflicting such serious losses that Basiliscus retreated 
to Sicily. The final blow came ^dth the assassination 
of Marcellinus, who had crossed over to Sicily after 
recovering Sardinia. This dastardly deed was almost 
certainly brought about by Ricimer, whose position 
in Italy would have been very insecure if Marcellinus 
had come back covered with glory. Geiseric 
promptly regained Sardinia, and a little later Sicily. 
The eastern forces were vdthdrawn, and those of the 
West were required for the defence of Italy and for 
operations against the Goths in Gaul. 

In 466 Euric had murdered his brother Theodoric 



and become king of the Visigoths. It soon became 
clear that he meant to throw off his nominal de- 
pendence on Rome and to extend his dominions over 
all the Gallic lands. The union of East and West 
for the war against Geiseric, with whom he had 
meditated an alliance, deterred him for a time, but 
the disastrous failure of the great expedition gave 
him his opportunity. He seems to have counted 
on a large measure of support from the Gallo- 
Romans. His success in this direction was probably 
less than he had expected, owing to the antagonism 
of the Catholic Church and the traditional loyalty 
of the upper classes ; but Arvandus, the Praetorian 
Prefect, and many others went over to his side. 
Arvandus was summoned to Rome, impeached for 
High Treason, and condemned to death, though 
the sentence was afterwards commuted to one of 
banishment. Matters now came to a crisis. An- 
themius prepared an expedition, and the Bretons 
of Aremorica, under King Riothamus, marched to 
defend the territory north of the Loire. Riothamus 
was completely defeated near Vicus Dolensis (Deols, 
dep. Indre), and fled with the remnant of his army 
to the Burgundians. Euric thus became master of 
Tours and Bourges and of a large part of the 
province of Aquitanica Prima (east of Aquitanica 
Secunda, which had been occupied by the Goths 
for more than fifty years) ; he was, however, 
prevented from extending his conquests north of 
the Loire by Count Paulus and, after the death 
of Paulus in 470, by Syagrius, son of Aegidius, 
with the aid of the Franks under King Childeric. 
But there were prizes to be won in other parts. 
In Aquitanica Prima Auvergne, whose inhabitants 


prided themselves on their Latin blood ^ and on their 
connexion ^vith Rome, still remained unconquered; 
more important still were those cities of Narbonensis 
which still remained Roman, especially Aries, the 
headquarters of the Roman administration. But 
before these could be subdued the army which 
Anthemius had organised had to be met and defeated. 
It crossed the Alps in 471, under the leadership 
of Anthemiolus, son of the Emperor, and three other 
generals, but on its way to Aries it was totally de- 
feated on the left bank of the Rhone, all its generals 
being slain. Euric overran and plundered the lower 
Rhone-valley from Valence to the sea, but as he had 
impinged on Burgundian territory he thought it 
prudent to abandon for the present his conquests 
in that region and to transfer his attention to two 
centres of opposition farther west. A fierce war 
had been waged with the Suevians in Spain for some 
years. Euric himself took command, and ultimately 
(about 473) made himself master of practically the 
whole of the peninsula except the old home of the 
Suevians in the north-west. This diversion of large 
Gothic forces made it easier for the Arvernians to 
defend their capital (modern Clermont-Ferrand). 
The exploits of EcdiciuSj^ the youngest son of the 
late Emperor Avitus, the courageous helpfulness of 
his brother-in-law Apollinaris Sidonius, now Bishop 
of Auvergne, and the garrison provided by the 
Burgundians, who had no desire to see a further 
extension of Gothic power, enabled the townsmen 
to hold out for some years. But their resistance 
could not go on for ever, and the Empire was 

* See n. on Sidonius, Carm. 7. 139. 

' See especially Sidonius, Epist. III. 3. 



too weak to defend its last strongholds in the 

In 472 Ricimer, whom no Emperor could satisfy 
in the long run, brought about the fall and assassina- 
tion of Anthemius. A few weeks later he himself 
died, and before the end of the year the Emperor 
whom he had set up, Olybrius (who, as we have seen, 
had been Geiseric's nominee) was also no more. 
Four months later (March, 473) the Burgundian 
Gundobad, Ricimer's successor as Patrician, caused 
the comes domesticorum Glycerius to be proclaimed 
Emperor by the troops in Ravenna. This election, 
however, was not recognised by the eastern Emperor, 
Leo I, who nominated Julius Nepos, a nephew of 
Marcellinus. Glycerius could offer no resistance, 
and was put out of harm's way by being consecrated 
Bishop of Salona, in Dalmatia. Nepos seems at 
first to have planned vigorous measures against the 
Goths, and he made the heroic Ecdicius magister 
militum praese?italis and Patrician. But a change 
soon occurred, the details of which are not entirely 
clear. Whatever the reason, Ecdicius soon lost 
his new dignities and was replaced by Orestes, a 
Roman from Pannonia, who had once been Attila's 
secretary. Nepos, in agreement with the Bur- 
gundian king, sought to arrange terms of peace with 
Euric (475). The negotiations were entrusted to a 
delegation of bishops. They arranged that Auvergne 
should be surrendered, while the Empire should still 
rule in southern Provence, including Aries and Mar- 
seilles. It was a bitter blow to the Arvernians to be 
thus sacrificed by an Empire for which they had fought 
and suffered so long. The rule of Rome in the west 
was now crumbling to pieces. The Danubian 



provinces had actually, if not nominally, thrown off 
their allegiance, and Spain was lost. 

The rest of the miserable tale may be told in a few 
words. Orestes rose against Nepos, compelling him 
to take refuge in Dalmatia. Preferring to remain 
Patrician, he elevated to the Imperial throne, on 
31st October, 475, his son Romulus, who is generally 
designated by the nickname given him in pity or 
contempt for his youth, Augustulus. Less than a 
year sufficed to end this usurping reign. The ** bar- 
barian " mercenaries quartered in Italy, unable to 
obtain pay from a depleted exchequer, demanded 
that one third of the land should be made over to 
them. When their demand was refused they rose 
in rebellion and proclaimed their leader, the Scirian 
Odovacar, King of Italy. Augustulus was mercifully 
allowed to retire into private life. In this situation 
Euric found an opportunity of winning the coveted 
strip of Provence for which the Romans had recently 
sacrificed Auvergne (476 or 477). 

Nepos was still legally Emperor, and thus the 
eastern Emperor had a colleague until the death of 
Nepos in 480. Even apart from this, as modern 
historians do not fail to point out, it is incorrect to 
speak of the year 476 as marking the fall of the 
Roman Empire in the West.^ Nevertheless, the 
events of that year were of immense significance. 
Italy, the ancient home of the Empire, now saw one 
third of her land in possession of " barbarians," 
and began to suffer the fate which had already over- 
taken the proud lands of Gaul and Africa. She had 
a foreign ruler in her midst, unhampered by the 
presence even of a puppet-Emperor such as Ricimer 

^ See, for example, Bury, of. cit., I., p. 408. 


had liked to set up. It is true that the Roman Em- 
pire continued to exist in the West even after the 
death of Nepos. Legally the lack of a western 
Emperor did not matter; the Emperor who ruled 
in Constantinople ruled also in Italy, and even 
" barbarian " rulers such as Odovacar and Theodoric 
the Ostrogoth found it expedient to acknowledge 
his sovereignty. But such legal technicalities and 
such ostentatious deference cannot hide the fact 
that the substance of power was in other hands and 
that a momentous change had taken place. 


Gaius Sollius Modestus( ?) Apollinaris Sidonius ^ 
was born at Lyons (Lugdunum) on the 5th of Novem- 
ber ; 2 the year is uncertain, but it must have been 
about A.D. 4.30.^ His family was one of considerable 
distinction. His great-grandfather had held an 
official position of some importance, his grandfather, 
the first of his family to adopt the Christian religion, 

^ In his works he is usually called simply Sollius or Sidonius. 
The latter is not strictly a surname (cognomen) but a signum. 
These signa, which properly denoted membership of some 
association, were often adopted by persons of good birth. 
Modestus has strong MS. authority in the incipit of Carm. 4, 
less strong in the svbscriptiones of most books of the Letters. 
It may be authentic, but it ought perhaps to be regarded with 
as much suspicion as Sophronius in the name of Jerome. 
The notion that it is due to a wrong inference from Epist. 
IX. 12. 3 is scarcely credible. 

2 Carm. 20. 1. 

' This is inferred from Epist. VIII. 6. 5, which tells us that 
in the year 449 he was adulescens atque adhuc nuper ex puero 
On the whole, 331 or 332 seems the most likely date. 


had been Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, and his father 
held the same exalted position when Sidonius was 
Uttle more than a boy.^ His mother was connected 
with the distinguished house of the Aviti. We do 
not know where he received his education; some 
think it was partly at Lyons and partly at Aries. The 
great institutions of higher learning in Gaul, which had 
flourished so long under Imperial patronage, seem 
by this time to have fallen on evil days ,2 but the 
upper classes still retained their predilection for the 
traditional training of pagan Rome as represented in 
the schools of grammar and rhetoric. Sidonius went 
through the usual courses in grammar, literature, 
rhetoric, philosophy (with its satellites arithmetic, 
geometry, astronomy, and music) ^ and law. He has 
recorded the names of two of his teachers, Hoenius,* 
who taught him poetry, and Eusebius,^ who taught 
him philosophy. He mentions Claudianus Mamertus, 
the famous author of the De Statu Animae, as having 
conducted edifying philosophical disputations with 
him and other ardent students ; ^ but it is not certain 

1 See Epist. I. 3. 1, with note; cf. III. 12. 6, V. 9. 1 (grand- 
father), V. 9. 2, VIII. 6. 5 (father). 

* It is a frequent mistake to attribute to the age of Sidonius 
the conditions enjoyed a Uttle earlier by Ausonius as a pro- 
fessor at Bordeaux. The disturbed state of the country 
and the growing financial stringency had in all probability 
caused the withdrawal of active Imperial patronage from the 
schools of " grammar " and rhetoric. See Roger, Uenseigne- 
ment des letires dassiques d^Aitsone d Alcuin, Paris, 1905, 
pp. 48-88. This excellent book has not received the atten- 
tion which it deserves. 

3 See Carm. 14 e'pist. § 2, Carm. 22 epist. §§ 2 sq. 

* Carm. 9. 313. 

^ Epist. IV. \.Z. 
« Epist.l\.n.2. 


VOL. I. B 


that Claudianus held any official post as a teacher, or 
that this seminar, as one might call it, formed part of 
Sidonius's regular course of higher education; it 
may have taken place later and in a different place. 
Certainly these teachers never made Sidonius a 
philosopher. He seems to have learnt enough Greek 
to construe Menander ^ without much difficulty. 

A good deal of the learning acquired in the schools 
at this time was somewhat superficial, and much of it 
was in *' tabloid " form. Historical examples were 
a regular part of the educational course ; Sidonius 
was always ready to produce one or a dozen at the 
shortest notice (though not always accurately) to 
embellish his writings. The way in which he repeats 
the same stock illustrations time after time casts some 
light on the nature of the instruction received. The 
case was somewhat similar with myths and legends, 
which sprout up everywhere in his poetry, and with 
literary criticism, in which lists of past authors with 
brief ready-made descriptions were served up to the 
student. Nevertheless a great deal of literature was 
read, with comments on diction, style, and subject- 
matter, great emphasis being placed on antiquarian 
details, especially those dealing with mythology. 
Sidonius shows an intimate acquaintance with many 
wTiters, especially poets, and he must have acquired 
much of it in his student days. Among the poets, 
Virgil, Horace, Lucan, Juvenal, Martial, Statius, 
Ausonius, Claudian and others were known to him at 
first hand, most of them intimately.^ Among the 

1 EpisL IV. 12. 1. 

* It is interesting to note that he shows even in his early 
woiks some knowledge of the Christian poet Prudentius. He 
had also some acquaintance with Plautus, and he seems to 
have been fond of Terence. 


prose authors whom he knew well were Pliny the 
Younger, Apuleius, and Symmachus.^ But the letter 
counted for more than the spirit. The authors of 
the past were treasures from which to steal subject- 
matter, learned allusions, and tricks of diction. The 
highest compliment which could be paid by one fifth- 
century writer to another was that he recalled one or 
more of the ancients. Creative work in the true 
sense was not fostered in the schools. The training 
in rhetoric had the same tendency as that given by 
the grammaticus. The study of rhetoric, though not 
without good points, had for centuries emphasized the 
importance of form rather than of matter. A strain- 
ing after effect, an ostentatious and often unnatural 
use of words, forced antithesis, far-fetched conceits, 
silly paradoxes, over-elaboration and a constant 
sacrifice of clearness to cleverness — these were some 
of the features which this training too often produced. 
They are all found abundantly in Sidonius, and, 
strange to say, his contemporaries admired them, 
even if they did not always understand what he 

Amid the almost complete silence of Sidonius about 
his formative years we read of one trivial incident 
which gave him much pleasure. ^ At the beginning 
of the year 449 the new consul Astyrius inaugurated 
his office in an imposing ceremony at Aries, and the 
young Sidonius, whose father was Praetorian Prefect 
of Gaul at the time, occupied a place of great honour, 

^ Perhaps Fronto should be added to this list, Cicero is 
often mentioned, and some acquaintance with his works 
(especially the letters Ad Familiares) is shown. There are 
also indications that the works of Sallust, Livy, Seneca, 
and Tacitus were to some extent known to Sidonius. 

« Ejtist. VIII. 6. 5. 



being allowed to stand beside the curule chair. There 
is no doubt that the young man was already planning 
to follow the family tradition by entering the govern- 
ment service and attaining to high office, perhaps even 
to the consulship itself, which none of his family had 
reached. His prospects, already bright, were soon 
greatly enhanced when he married Papianilla, 
daughter of Avitus. The marriage, which was 
obviously a happy one, brought him the delightful 
estate of Avitacum, near Clermont-Ferrand. 
Auvergne, in which it was situated, thus became " a 
second fatherland " ^ to this young Lyonese, who 
was destined to have a pathetic opportunity of show- 
ing his devotion to it. There seem to have been four 
children of the marriage, a son and three daughters. ^ 
Avitus was proclaimed Emperor in July, a.d. 455, 

1 Carm. 17. 20. 

2 The son is the ApoUinaris to whom Epist. III. 13 is ad- 
dressed; of. V. 9. 4, V. 11. 3, VIII. 6. 12, IX. 1. 5. When 
Count Victorius, the governor, was driven out of Auvergne 
about the year 480 owing to his outrageous conduct, Apol- 
linaris accompanied him in his flight to Rome. There Vic- 
torius, continuing his misbehaviour, was put to death, and 
Apollinaris was imprisoned at Milan. He succeeded in es- 
caping and returned to Auvergne. In 507 he fought along 
with other Arvemians in the disastrous battle against Clovis 
at Vouille (Campus Vogladensis). About eight years later, 
when his father's old see of Clermont fell vacant, he obtained 
it, not, it seems, without a good deal of intrigue (in which his 
wife and a sister named Alcima joined) and bribery (Greg. 
Tur. Hist. Fr. III. 2). He died a few months after his in- 
stallation. Sidonius ma£es no mention of Alcima, but he 
mentions as daughters Severiana {Epist. II. 12. 2) and Roscia 
(V. 16. 5). Mommsen, perhaps unnecessarily, doubts whether 
these three names aU belong to separate persons. He also 
credits Sidonius with twins. This amusing error, which has 
become an article of faith with subsequent writers on Sidonius, 
is due to a very unscholarly misunderstanding of Carm. 17. 3. 


and his proud son-in-law accompanied him to 
Rome. On the first of January in the following year 
the new Emperor assumed the consulship, and 
Sidonius delivered to an applauding throng a long 
panegyric in verse {Carmen 7). The honour of a 
bronze statue in the Forum of Trajan was decreed to 
the young poet, whose fortune now seemed to be 
made.^ But his elation was short-lived. The fall 
of Avitus and the subsequent rebellion in Gaul have 
already been described.^ Sidonius might well be 
excused for joining in the insurrection. Petrus, the 
Imperial secretary, who seems to have arranged the 
terms of capitulation, would no doubt recognise this ; 
moreover he was a literary man himself,^ and he prob- 
ably admired the young poet who had so recently 
won the plaudits of the Romans. It seems certain 
that he secured pardon for Sidonius at the earliest 
opportunity. When Majorian arrived in Lyons late 
in the year 458 Sidonius, already pardoned (see Carm. 
4), delivered a panegyric in his honour {Carm. 5). 
The concluding lines of the poem show that Majorian 
had not yet fully decided the fate of Lyons and of the 
insurgent Gallo-Romans. The poet seeks to arouse 
his pity, and professes to detect in the Imperial 
countenance a look of compassion. Whether the 
poet's pleading worked on Majorian or not, it is 
certain that he was merciful, though he imposed a 
heavy tax as a punishment. In Carmen 13, whidi 
was in all probability composed very soon after the 
panegyric, Sidonius pleads for a remission of this 
burden, and it seems safe to conclude that his plea 

1 Carm. 8. 7-10, Epist. IX. 16. 3 m. 25-28. 

2 See pp. xxi-xxiv. 

3 See Carm. 3, with note on v. 5. 



was successful. Although it must have been very 
hard to forgive the man who had conspired with 
Ricimer to bring about the downfall of Avitus, the 
generosity of Majorian, his innate nobility of char- 
acter and his attractive personality won the heart of 
Sidonius, and Majorian did what he could to cement 
their friendship. In the following year or in the 
year 460 we find Sidonius occupying a government 
post at Rome,i ^nd in the year 461 we find that he 
has the title of Count (Comes),^ which, if not given in 
virtue of a definite office of state, betokened at least 
that he was an accepted member of the court circle. 
In that year he travelled from Auvergne to Aries, 
where Majorian was sojourning after the disastrous 
failure of his expedition against Geiseric,^ and he has 
left us a long and interesting account of an Imperial 
dinner-party at which he was a guest.* But the 
end of Majorian was at hand, and in August of that 
year Sidonius was once more bereft of an Imperial 

^ See note on commilitio recenti, Epist. I. 11. 3, also n. 
on § 1 of the same letter. So far as is known, Sidonius had 
not previously held any appointment in the Imperial civil 
service. It has been conjectured that he was Iribunus et 
notarius under Avitus. He may have been, but there is 
absolutely no evidence of it. 

2 Epist. I. 11. 13. 
.' Seep. xxiv. 

* Epist. I. 11. By an unfortunate inadvertence M. A. 
Loyen attributes to Mr. Stevens and personally approves 
the view that this party took place in a.d. 459 ; see Journ. Rom. 
Stud. XXIV. (1934), p. 85. This date is quite impossible, 
as the letter itseK shows (§ 10); the date 459 is suggested by 
Mr. Stevens not for this dinner-party but for the one mentioned 
in Epist. IX. 13. 4 (Stevens, Sidonius Apollinaris, p. 51). 

' For the fall of Majorian see p. xxv. 



How he spent liis time in the ensuing six years 
may be partially inferred from his own writings, 
several of which, both poems and letters, must have 
been written in this period, although anything like 
an accurate dating is generally impossible.^ It 
seems certain that he lived partly in the old family 
home at Lyons and partly at Avitacum, and that from 
time to time he visited numerous friends in different 
parts of the country, passing many a happy day like 
those which he spent with Tonantius Ferreolus and 
ApoUinaris (Epist. II. 9). His visit to Bishop Faustus 
at Riez {Carm. 16. 78-88) almost certainly took place 
in the same period. It is quite possible that the 
visit to the court of Theodoric II at Toulouse {Epist. 
I. 2) occurred in one of these years, and he may well 
have combined it with a series of visits to friends in 
Bordeaux and its neighbourhood, including a stay 
with Pontius Leontius at Burgus, which he celebrates 
in Carm. 22. We learn from Carm. 22 epist. § 1 that 
he spent a considerable time at Narbonne, where 
Consentius and many other friends lived, in a.d. 462 
or a very little later. In all probability this was the 
occasion on which he enjoyed the hospitality which 
he celebrates in Carm. 23. 434-506. 

The murder of Theodoric, the accession of Euric 

^ It is commonly said that Sidonius at some time held the 
Praetorian Prefectship of Gaul. This idea arises from a 
misinterpretation of Epist. IV. 14. 2 and 4 and from the ex- 
pression fori index in the so-called Epitaphium Sidonii found 
in the Codex Matritensis (10th or 11th century). I cordially 
agree with those who impugn the authority of this " epitaph " 
(see especially Stevens, p. 166, n. 2, and p. 211); but even if 
it were an authentic document one could not say that its 
vague language proves that Sidonius was Praetorian Prefect. 
Fori index was possibly suggested by Epist. IX. 3 v. 32, 
iuta gubemat, which refers to the Prefecture of the City. 



(466), and the elevation of Anthemius to the Imperial 
throne (April 12, 467) have been related elsewhere.^ 
Early in the new reign Sidonius was commissioned 
by the Arvernians to present to the Emperor a 
petition, the subject of which he does not disclose. 
He has described his journey in a long and interesting 
letter (I. 5), which was supplemented early in the 
following year by another (I. 9). He arrived in 
Rome at a time when the whole city was joyfully 
celebrating the marriage of Ricimer to Alypia, the 
daughter of Anthemius. To further the business 
with which he was entrusted, Sidonius attached 
himself to two powerful senators, Gennadius Avienus 
and Caecina Basilius. As the 1st of January, 468, 
approached, on which date Anthemius was going to 
assume the consulship, Basilius suggested to Sidonius 
that it would be profitable for him to " bring out the 
old Muse " and compose a panegyric. This he did, 
and once more he stood before a Roman throng to 
sing the praises of an emperor-consul. He must 
surely have spoken with a lump in his throat as he 
thought of that other New Year's Day, twelve years 
before, when he had stood before a similar gathering 
and prophesied a glorious reign for Avitus. But his 
facile Muse did all that was necessary, and his reward 
came promptly in his appointment as Prefect of the 
City. This preferment may have been designed to 
please the Gallo-Roman nobles as well as to recognise 
the virtues of the panegyric, but it obviously gave him. 
great delight.^ The office of Prefect of the City was 
still one of the most exalted in the Empire. The 
Prefect was President of the Senate and also head 
of the judicature and of the police both in Rome and 

1 See pp. xxvii f. ^ gee EpisL I. 9. 8. 



for a hundred miles around it. Besides this he was 
controller of the food-supply. This was a worrying 
responsibility in a period when the hostility of Geiseric 
might at any time cause a shortage, and we read of 
one occasion when Sidonius feared an outcry from the 
populace and anxiously awaited the arrival of five 
ship-loads of wheat and honey .^ 

He tells us no more of his prefectship, which he 
held for a year. We may imagine that he was glad 
to be freed from a rather thankless office and to leave 
Rome with the prestige of an ex-prefect and the 
honourable title of Patrician. He had another reason 
for preferring Gaul to Rome in the year 469, for it 
was then that his friend Arvandus was brought to 
Rome for trial on a serious charge and so conducted 
himself that it was impossible to save him.^ Arvan- 
dus had become Praetorian Prefect of Gaul in a.d. 
464, and had given such satisfaction at first that his 
term of office was increased to five years. But his 
conduct had undergone a change, and his oppression 
and malversation could no longer be borne. He was 
arrested by order of the Council of the Seven Pro- 
vinces and sent to Rome for trial. Meanwhile the 
three delegates sent from Gaul to prosecute him 
were furnished with evidence which made the charge 
against him infinitely more serious. A letter from 
him to Euric had been intercepted, in which he 
advised the Gothic king to abandon his pacific 
attitude toward the " Greek Emperor " (Anthemius), 
to attack the Bretons, and to arrange a division of 
Gaul between the Goths and the Burgundians. 

1 Epist. I. 10. 2. 

* On the case of Arvandus see Epist. I. 7 ; also p. xxviii 



Sidonius was in an embarrassing position. The three 
accusers sent from Gaul were old friends of his, but 
he had also been on friendly terms with Arvandus. 
Along with some others he did all that was possible 
to help the prisoner by advising him to make no 
admissions and to be wary of any traps that might be 
set for him. Their advice was received with scorn 
by Arvandus, whose arrogance and self-confidence 
almost passed belief. Sidonius left Rome before the 
trial came on. Arvandus was condemned on a 
charge of High Treason and sentenced to death, but 
the sentence was commuted to one of exile. 

We next find Sidonius (apparently in a.d. 469 or 
470) enthroned at Clermont as Bishop of the Arverni. 
We do not know what immediately led to this change, 
but he was not the first or the last noble who aban- 
doned the honours of state for the responsibilities of 
a see. There were various reasons which made such 
a translation desirable. The weakening power of 
the Empire was bitter to all who loved the Roman 
name. As the Imperial power declined, it was the 
Church above all that upheld the standard of Roman 
civilisation and maintained and diffused the Roman 
spirit amid " barbarian " surroundings. To Sidonius 
this must have meant much. Again, the bishop was 
a great refuge in time of trouble. He could aid the 
distressed in a very special way and stand up to the 
oppressor, whether Roman official or barbarian 
potentate. It had long been the custom to vest 
certain judicial powers in him. He also administered 
large funds, which might be used both for the relief 
of distresses and for the furtherance of the Catholic 
religion, but which too often tempted greedy in- 
triguers to possess themselves of a diocese. In Gaul, 


Euric, a fanatical Arian, was hostile to the orthodox 
church, seeing in it not only the promoter of a hated 
creed but the fosterer of the Roman, " anti-barbar- 
ian " spirit. There was, therefore, plenty of work to 
challenge the zeal of a patriot who cared also for 
religion. In countries like Gaul it was not merely 
the man of piety that was required for this task. It 
was often not only a great advantage but a necessity 
to have as bishop a man of rank and wealth, a man 
who could face even Euric himself and command 
respect, and who could, through his experience as an 
administrator backed by his own generosity, provide 
the means to resist aggression and to help the ruined 
and homeless outcasts whose numbers were being 
multiplied by the excesses of friend and foe alike. 
Sidonius must have felt all this. At the same 
time he felt how ill-fitted he was for the task. A 
sense of his own unworthiness to be a spiritual guide 
oppressed him not only now but to the end. The 
worldly ambitions which were characteristic of his 
class might often be patriotic, but they were not 
set upon the " City of God." Moreover he was now 
asked to become a bishop so suddenly that any 
adequate preparation for his ecclesiastical duties was 
out of the question. In entering the Church he 
would be entering a world which was strange to him, 
and in which he would have much both to learn and to 
unlearn. And he was no theologian. His poem to 
Faustus {Carm. 16) shows not only an imperfect 
knowledge of the Scriptures but a naive unorthodoxy 
which would have drawn from a less tolerant ecclesi- 
astic a horrified rebuke. He remained a close friend 
both of the heretical Faustus and of Claudianus 
Mamertus, who dedicated to Sidonius the De Statu 



Animae, in which the views of Faustus are vigorously 
assailed. This impartiality does credit to his heart ; 
at the same time it cannot be said with certainty that 
he really understood what the controversy was all 
about. Nevertheless, the poem to Faustus shows 
Sidonius as a devout Christian with a profound 
admiration for the saintly character, and there is 
plenty of other evidence that along with all his en- 
thusiasm for the pomp and pageantry of power and 
amid all his literary preoccupation with the products 
of heathen mythology he retained a sense of humble 
dependence on a divine Providence. It is easy to 
be cynical and point out that the position of a bishop 
gave both dignity and (what offices of state did not 
always give) comparative safety. It must, however, 
be remembered that he felt both then and even later 
the glamour of the government service, and as far as 
we know he might have looked forward to further 
distinctions, perhaps even to the most coveted honour 
of all, that of the consulship. Be that as it may, we 
cannot deny that he was renouncing much; his 
domestic and social life could not be quite the same 
as before, his liberty was curtailed, his wealth might 
have to be sacrificed, and there were dangerous times 
ahead in Auvergne, which he cannot have failed in 
some measure to foresee and to fear. The insinua- 
tion of some historians that Sidonius sought the 
episcopal throne, and that he did so from motives 
of worldly prudence, is not justified either by his 
owTi words 1 or by intrinsic probability. 

It is sometimes held that Sidonius spent some time 
in the lower ranks of the clergy before being installed 
as bishop ; ^ but the evidence for this is not conclusive. 

^ See Stevens, Sidonius Apollinaris, p. 130, n. 2. 
^ See Mommsen in Luetjohann's edition, p. xlviii. 


Sometimes a layman was rushed through the lower 
degrees, 1 but in some cases even this formality 
was dispensed with. Sidonius took his new status 
very seriously. He resolved to write no more worldly 
verses. 2 This was a great renunciation for a man 
who had for so many years found delight in thrum- 
ming on the antique lyre. On the whole, his austere 
vow was kept as well as could reasonably be expected. 
There was indeed sterner work to be done, even 
apart from the ordinary duties of spiritual oversight. 
Auvergne, with all its ancient pride in the Roman 
name, was in imminent danger of going the way of 
other parts of Gaul and falling into the clutches of 
the barbarian. Romans, even members of the old 
governing class, were more and more inclined to 
acquiesce in the new order of things, and even to 
accept official positions under the sovereign Goth or 
the nominally federate Burgundian. In the parts of 
the country which still remained to the Empire there 
were traitors to the Roman name. Seronatus,^ 
undeterred by the fate of Arvandus, freely en- 
couraged Gothic encroachment, and did what he 
could to curry favour with Euric and to further his 
designs. He was indeed, thanks to Arvernian loyalty, 

^ Ambrose " passed from baptism to the episcopate in 
the course of a week " (C. H. Turner in Cambridge Medieval 
History, p. 152). Sidonius himself, when entrusted with 
the task of choosing a bishop for the see of Bourges, chose a 
layman : see Epist. VII. 9, where he reproduces the address 
which he delivered on the occasion. In the circumstances his 
choice was not an unreasonable one. 

* EpisL IX. 12. 1. He speaks of verses in general, but he 
obviously did not mean to debar himself from writing poems 
with a Christian content. See also IX. 16. w. 41-64, es- 
pecially 55 f. 

» EpisL II. 1, V. 13, VII. 7. 2. 



brought to justice and executed, but this was only a 
sHght set-back to the sinister schemes of Euric. 
Sidonius soon found that the see of Clermont called 
for all the qualities of a man and a patriot. Un- 
fortunately it is impossible to follow with any cer- 
tainty the course of the struggle, which began prob- 
ably in A.D. 471 and ended four years later with the 
sacrifice of Auvergne by the Empire for a transitory 
gain. The Goths besieged the city every year, 
retiring on the approach of winter after wasting the 
land. There were sallies and some fierce fighting, 
but the pressure went on relentlessly. The Bur- 
gundians had sent a garrison to help the besieged, 
Ecdicius, brother-in-law of Sidonius, raised a force 
mostly at his own expense and himself performed 
prodigies of valour,^ and the good bishop did all that 
he could to animate the defenders and to relieve the 
distressed. That they were distressed there is no 
doubt. In all probability the citizens who resided 
outside the walls, when they had not fled to safer 
regions, had taken refuge within, and these, along 
with the Burgundians and other troops, were difficult 
to house as well as to feed. The Burgundians seem 
to have been troublesome,^ and the Goths had seen to 
it that supplies were scarce. As things grew worse, 
Sidonius could not help feeling that the troubles 
must be a divine judgment for some unknown sin; 3 
and indeed the people had grown slack in their public 
prayers.* He therefore instituted at Clermont 
the special prayers, or " Rogations," which Bishop 
Mamertus was said to have used with miraculous 

1 See EpisL III. 3. 3-8. « Episl. III. 4. 1. 

3 Epist. III. 4. 2 ; VII. 10 (11). 2. 
* Efi-^t. V. 14. 2. 


effect at Vienne. But although these, as he tells us, 
had a good effect, circumstances were too strong; 
as their privations increased and no help came, the 
people murmured more and more, and all the efforts 
of their bishop could not quell the talk of surrender. 
At this juncture Sidonius besought the saintly priest 
Constantius to come from Lyons to his aid. Aged 
though he was, Constantius braved the rigours of a 
severe winter and a difficult journey to encourage the 
waverers, and succeeded in nerving them to further 
resistance.^ Ecdicius seems to have been absent for 
a considerable time at the Burgundian court.^ Per- 
haps he was trying to persuade the king to launch a 
great offensive against the Goths. The language of 
Sidonius is vague (he does not even say what court 
Ecdicius was visiting) ; but we must remember that 
his letters were revised and modified before publica- 
tion and that the original wording may have been 
much more explicit. 

In the year 474 the Quaestor Licinianus arrived in 
Gaul, carrying with him the patent of the patriciate, 
which, with the Mastership of the Forces, was now 
conferred upon Ecdicius. Sidonius was delighted at 
this ,3 and he reposed great hopes in the coming mis- 
sion of Licinianus to the Gothic court.* We know 
nothing of that mission except that it gained no 
concession from Euric, at least as far as Auvergne was 
concerned. If the appointment conferred on Ec- 
dicius was meant to convince the Goth that the 
Emperor Nepos was organising a formidable resist- 
ance, it failed dismally. It seems safe to say that the 
speedy supersession of Ecdicius, the declared enemy 

1 EpisL III. 2. 2 Epist. III. 3. 9. 

8 Epist. V. 16. « Epist. III. 7. 2 sqq. 



of the Goths, by a more innocuous magister militum 
betokened a change of policy in the direction of 
conciliation with Euric. But the history of all these 
doings is so obscure that we need not dwell longer 
upon them. The end came in the following year 
(475), when Rome ceded Auvergne to the Goths in 
order to retain or regain ^ a small strip of Provence. 
At this betrayal of the most loyal part of Gaul after 
years of suffering for the Roman cause Sidonius was 
filled with consternation. A moving letter written 
to Bishop Graecus of Marseilles, who had had a hand 
in the drafting of the treaty ,2 voices his indignation 
and scorn. " Our slavery," he says, " is the price that 
has been paid for the security of others." ^ 

Clermont was occupied by Victorius, a Roman in 
the Gothic service, now created Count of Auvergne. 
He spared the town, no doubt by order of Euric, and 
probably pardoned all but the most prominent of the 
resisters. It was impossible to ignore the uncom- 
promising hostility of the bishop. Sidonius was 
confined in the fortress of Livia, near Carcassonne.* 
He seems to have been given some titular duties to 
alleviate the indignity of his imprisonment,^ and 

^ It is just possible that the Goths had been in possession of 
the whole of Provence for two years and that the comer of 
it which included Aries was regained by the bargain of a.d. 
475; see Stevens, pp. 209 sqq. 

2 The part played by Epiphanius and the four other 
bishops (BasUius of Aix, Leontius of Aries, Faustus of Riez, 
Graecus of Marseilles) in the making of the treaty is a vexed 
question. See Stevens, pp. 207-209. 

3 E'pist. VII. 7. 

* Liviana, according to the Peutiger Table; Sidonius 
speaks only of moenia Liviana. It has been identified with 
the modem Capendu. 

^ Epist. IX. 3. 3 per officii imaginem solo patrio exa^tus. 


although he complained bitterly of his lot, he does 
not seem to have been badly treated. He had a 
friend at the Gothic court, Leo of Narbonne,^ who 
was now a trusted minister of Euric, discharging 
duties similar to those discharged for the Roman 
Emperor by the quaestor sacri palatii.^ Leo asked 
him to transcribe the life of Apollonius of Tyana by 
Philostratus, probably wishing to give him a task 
which would take his mind off his troubles. When 
this was completed and sent to Leo Sidonius had 
already won his freedom through the good offices of 
his friend (possibly before the end of the year 476). 
His movements after his release are not entirely 
clear. It seems certain that he was not allowed to 
return to Clermont immediately. ^ Sooner or later he 
went to Bordeaux, and eventually he appeared as a 
suppliant at the court of Euric* Two months passed 
without an answer to his suit.^ At this point he 
sent to his friend Lampridius,* who enjoyed the 
favour of the Gothic king, a letter containing a poem 
of 59 hendecasyllabic lines, in which he not only 
makes reference to his own plight but draws an 
impressive picture of the Gothic court, crowded with 
embassies from near and far — even from distant 
Persia — all anxious to win the gracious favour of the 

1 See note on Carm. 9. 314. 

2 On this office see note on Carm. 1. 25. In Epist. VIII. 
3. 3 Leo is described as the king's mouthpiece. 

' Epist. VIII. 9. 3, ago adhuc exulem. 

* Epist. VIII. 9. Sidonius does not say definitely that the 
court was then at Bordeaux. It is possible that he had gone 
on from Bordeaux to Toulouse, the Gothic capital. 

' Perhaps he had already had one audience; semel visos, 
Epist. VIlI. 9. 5. V. 17, is obscure, but may mean this. 

• See note on Carm. 9. 314. 



mighty Euric.^ It is almost certain that he wished 
this poem to be brought to the notice of the king.2 
Whatever its effect may have been, it is certain that 
Sidonius was eventually allowed to return to Clermont 
and to resume his duties as bishop. 

The events of the past few years had left their mark 
upon him. Truer to the traditions of his class than 
most of his friends had been, he had clung wistfully, 
hoping against hope, to his faith in the Empire. 
Even as late as the year 474 he regarded the consul- 
ship as a dazzling prize.^ He had indeed come to see 
that worldly ambition is not everything, and he main- 
tained in his later years that the humblest of God's 
ministers held a rank more exalted than the highest 
dignities of state.* But in his eyes the two views 
were not inconsistent. Church and State were 
merged in the great unity of Romanism. To main- 
tain the Catholic faith against Arianism and to 
maintain the Roman civilisation against barbarism — 
these were sacred duties bound up with the heritage 
into which he had been born. The sense of that 
heritage was strong in Sidonius. As a Gallo-Roman 
noble he had been cradled and nurtured in the tradi- 
tions of the past, and it was a matter of pride as well 
as of conviction to uphold them. The whole ten- 

^ Mommsen has some interesting pages on this poem : 
Reden u. Avfsdtze, pp. 136 sqq. 

2 It is absurd to suppose that Euric was ignorant of Latin. 
It is true that he used an interpreter when dealing with 
Epiphanius (Ennod., Vit. Epiph. 90); but that need not mean 
more than that he did not feel quite capable of deahng with 
the highly pohshed language of the Roman envoy ; see Roger, 
op. cit., p. 58. We need not, of course, assume that he 
personally read the poem of Sidonius, but if he did, he 
probably understood its general drift. 

3 EpisL V. 16. 4. * EpisL VII. 12. 4. 


dency of his education had been to turn his gaze 
backward. The literature and the history of bygone 
days were his inspiration, and he could not imagine 
any culture worth having which was not drawn from 
that all-sufficient source. Deep down in his heart was 
the vision of the Empire, a spiritual as well as a 
material force, appointed from of old to guard all 
that was most precious. In that last struggle of the 
Arvernians the heroic bishop was fighting for this 
idealised Rome, majestic even in her day of humilia- 
tion. Amid all the despair of those times there had 
lurked a hope that somehow the Empire might arise 
from its ashes and assert itself. But such self- 
deception could continue no longer. He had to 
realise that now, for better or worse, the " barbarian " 
kings were the inheritors of the Empire in the West. 
Perhaps, as he surveyed the scene at Euric's court, 
even he dimly perceived that the change now going on 
was " not so much the Germanisation of the Romans 
as the Romanisation of the Germans." ^ Rome was 
not a spent force, even in the West. But for Sido- 
nius the revulsion was too violent. Although the 
pictures sometimes drawn of his despair after his 
return to Clermont have been exaggerated through 
misunderstanding of his Latin combined with ar- 
bitrary dating of his letters, there can be little doubt 
that the shattering of his hopes and ideals told heavily 
upon him. But he did not break down utterly. He 
had many friends who did what they could to 
cheer him. The preparation of his letters for 
publication helped to divert him, though it must have 
given him many a pang by calling up memories of 
other days. Above all there were his episcopal 

^ Moiumsen, Rolen u. Aujmtze, p. 139. 



duties. All the evidence goes to show that he was 
loved and trusted by his flock, that he took a helpful 
interest in their various concerns, and that he was 
assiduous in the performance of his ecclesiastical 
functions.^ The governor, Count Victorius, who was 
a Catholic, showed himself helpful and sympathetic — 
but alas ! only for a time. One would like to think 
that Sidonius did not live to see the change which 
happened. It is just possible that he was spared the 
distress which his son brought upon his house.^ We 
do not know the year of his death ; a.d. 479 seems the 
earliest date to which it can be assigned, but a some- 
what later date seems probable. ^ He was canonised, 
and in Clermont his feast is still celebrated on the 
21st of August. 

Sidonius is one of the many writers who " lisped 
in numbers, for the numbers came." He wrote 
poetry from early years,* and some of it was cir- 
culated among his friends, but there is no evidence 
that any of it was published before the collection still 
extant appeared. That collection falls into two parts, 
which were probably published separately but sub- 
sequently combined. The first part consists of the 

* For the conduct of Sidonius as bishop see Chaix, Vol. II, 
Stevens, c. VII. The present volume does not contain any 
of the letters written by Sidonius as bishop; these begin in 
Book III. 

* See p. xxxvi, n. 2. 

^ Mommsen supports 479, and is followed by Duchesne and 
Stein. This dating, however, depends too much on an arbi- 
trary handling of the worthless "epitaph " (see p. xxxix, n. 1), 
Aprunculus, the successor of Sidonius in the see, died in a.d. 
490, but the date of his installation is unknown. The last 
letter of Sidonius is assigned to a.d. 479 or 480; see, however, 
p. lix, n. 2. 

* Carm. 9. 9 sq.; Epist. V. 21, IX. 16. 3 w. 41 sqq. 


panegyrics mentioned above, which occur in reverse 
order,^ together with prefaces and dedications. 
The second professedly consists of youthful poems. 
The panegyrics are constructed on the formal lines 
laid down by the rhetoricians and hitherto carried 
out most thoroughly in poetry by Claudian. Sidonius 
observes all the pitiable conventions of the genre, 
and succeeds in writing three " poems " which for 
prolonged insipidity, absurdity, and futility would 
be hard to beat. It is often very difficult to see what 
he means — all the more difficult because he so 
frequently means very little. It is true that he 
occasionally brings forth a striking epigram — all the 
Latin poets could do that, — but these are by no means 
always as new as some of their admirers seem to think. 
A tenacious memory has given him plenty of material 
to steal from his predecessors. If imitation is the 
sincerest flattery, never — not even by Silius Italicus 
— ^were previous writers honoured with a more 
thorough-going adulation. But the imitation does 
not go beneath the surface. Some of it is merely 
mechanical. The old mythological machinery is 
made to work overtime ; its figures are now rusty, 
creaking puppets, but he dresses them up in garish 
tinsel and spangles and makes them present a 
ludicrous caricature of their old-time splendour. It 
is pathetic to think that such mouldy antiquarianism 
was considered a worthy tribute to the master of the 

^ If this order is due to Sidonius himself, he may have de- 
sired to put the recently delivered panegyric on Anthemius 
in the place of honour as a comphment to the Emperor: 
but this is doubtful. Klotz points out that the order of the 
prose Panegyrici Latini is similarly reversed, except that 
Pliny, the model of them all, is naturally put first. 



Roman world. The thought, when there is any 
worth speaking of, is thin, or at least unoriginal. The 
great object is not to think noble thoughts but to 
coin clever phrases. The ancients are ransacked for 
suggestions of all kinds, but their features are dis- 
guised by all the virtuosity of the schools, verbal 
jingles and bad puns, forced contrasts, unnatural 
use of words, straining after " point " in season and 
out of season. It cannot be said that any one of 
these faults was new; but in Sidonius they occur 
with such devastating frequency and with such 
grotesque exaggeration that the reader is often 
driven to distraction. The English language is quite 
incapable of reproducing all the oddities of these 
poems. The consequence is that, however feeble 
the translator, they must needs seem more tolerable 
in his version than in the original. Having said all 
this — and one could easily say a great deal more to 
the same effect — one feels bound to admit that there 
are a few places where the author deviates into sense, 
and even into real feeling not ineptly expressed, as 
when he exposes the sorrows of Lyons in the pane- 
gyric on Majorian or the character and prowess of 
the Arvenians in the panegyric on Avitus. There are 
also some descriptive touches and sentimental out- 
bursts which suggest that the poet might have been 
more worthy of his calling if he had lived in an age of 
less depraved taste. But even these better morsels 
are soon spoilt by some bizarre absurdity. The chief 
value of the panegyrics — apart from the light which 
they incidentally throw on the literary training and 
ideals of the fifth century — lies in their historical 
information, which is of considerable importance. 

The second part of the poems (Carm. 9-24) was 


dedicated to Felix.^ The dedicatory poem is a most 
extraordinary production. It is 346 lines long and 
consists mostly of a list (wath various embellishments) 
of the subjects (mostly mythological) which he is 
not going to treat and the writers whose themes or 
style he is not going to reproduce. The other poems 
are of various kinds. Some are in hexameters, the 
others are in elegiacs or hendecasyllabics. There 
are a few epigrams, not unpleasing, especially nos. 
12 and 17. No. 13 is the poem already mentioned 
in which he beseeches Majorian to remit the tax. 
Of the two epitkalamia (nos. 11 and 15), each of 
considerable length, the best that can be said is that 
they are not the only absurd experiments in that 
conventional form to be found in European literature. 
The first one, with its tortuous conceits, is a nerve- 
racking problem for the would-be interpreter ; in the 
second one Sidonius, after parading unblushingly his 

1 Sidonius tells us that Felix had asked him to gather to- 
gether in a book the " trifles " which he had written and circu- 
lated in his younger days (Carm. 9. 9-11). In iw. 318 fiF. hesaya 
that he rarely commits such efforts to the permanent medium 
of a papjnrus-sheet, and when he does so the sheet is always 
a short one (not a roll); in other words, those " measures of 
his barren Muse " {v. 318) are not, as a rule, carefully pre- 
served, and they are always short. This passage has often 
been misunderstood. Some authorities, ignoring rarae, 
take the passage to mean " I am entrusting these poems 
(for pubhcation) to a short roll," and infer that the long poems 
22 and 23 cannot have been included in the original collec- 
tion, but were added in a second edition. The fact is, in aU 
probability, that 22 and 23 were specially written for in- 
clusion in the published collection, and when Sidonius speaks 
about his brevis charta he is thinking of the more youthful 
poems which form the main body of the book : indeed the 
two longer poems may possibly not have been written at the 
time when he wrote the prefatory poem to Felix. 



ignorance of philosophy and astronomy, show^s one or 
two genial traits which the jaded reader will scarcely 
appreciate. It is rather inappropriately followed 
by a very pious poem to Bishop Faustus. The 
description of Jonah in the whale's belly (vv. 25-30) 
is a striking instance of the poet's uncanny powers. 
It is, unfortunately, quite possible that Faustus and 
some other contemporaries admired its ingenuity. 
But the poem is not all as bad as that part. Al- 
though Sidonius can never wholly rid himself of his 
mannerisms, the second half (and indeed some of the 
earlier parts also) does at least suggest some sincere 
feeling, and the parts dealing with Lerins and Riez 
have an interest of their own. No. 22 is a very 
showy and obscure description of the ** Burgus " of 
Pontius Leontius. Sidonius has no idea that the 
reader of what purports to be a description of a 
house might desire to learn what the house was really 
like rather than what the author could achieve as a 
verbal trickster. There is also the inevitable parade 
of gods and other mythological figures. Hie multus tu, 
Jrater, eris (y. 220 ; see note ad loc.) is, unfortunately, 
the best thing in this poem of 235 lines. No. 23 is 
a tour deforce, 512 hendecasyllabics addressed to his 
friend Consentius of Narbonne. Though it has a 
fair share of the usual faults, it shows some skill 
and is probably the most interesting of all the longer 
poems. The description of the battered city, 
recently occupied by Theodoric, has a certain 
effectiveness. The praise of Theodoric may profit- 
ably be compared with Epist. I. 2. Pantomimic 
performances, which obviously enjoyed a considerable 
vogue even in those Christian times, are described 
in a notable passage. The picture of the chariot- 


race is a wonderfully vigorous effort, based on Statius ; 
unfortunately it is marred by some obscurity in the 
climax. The last part of the poem gives an interest- 
ing and valuable picture of the social life enjoyed by 
the Gallo-Roman nobles. The collection ends with 
an epilogue speeding the book on its way from 
the author to friends in different parts of the 

Poem 22 (see the prefatory letter, § 1) was written 
not long after the occupation of Narbonne by Theo- 
doric in a.d. 462. Probably the visit to Narbonne 
there mentioned is the same as the one mentioned 
in no. 23, which must in any case have been written 
not earlier than the year 462 and not later than 466 
(the date of Theodoric's death). If these two poems 
were specially written for inclusion in the published 
edition (see p. Iv, n. 1), we may plausibly assign 
the publication of poems 9-24 approximately to 
A.D. 463. The panegyrics must, of course, have been 
published after the delivery of the panegyric to 
Anthemius in the year 468. It is customary to 
assign them to 469 The letters also contain a 
number of poems. Several of them, in accordance 
with the stern resolution which Sidonius took on 
obtaining his bishopric, are of a religious cast, but 
these, with the exception of the poem in IX. 16. 3, 
are all very short. It may be of some interest, as 
the statements made on the subject are generally 
rather vague, to examine the letters with the object 
of discovering how seriously Sidonius took his vow 
to keep the old pagan Muse in check. Book II 
contains an inscription for the church built by 
Bishop Patiens at Lyons (II. 10. 4) and also an epitaph 
(II. 8. 3), which has no Christian content ; but as the 


letters in this book seem all to have been written 
before his episcopate, they are not relevant to our 
enquiry. Apart from these, there are five poems in 
the first seven books. Three of these, all with a 
Christian tone (IV. 11. 6, a lament for Claudianus 
Mamertus, IV. 18. 5, an inscription for the rebuilt 
church of St. Martin at Tours, and VII. 17. 2, an 
epitaph on the monk Abraham), may be assigned to 
the period of his bishopric, but the other two (III. 
12. 5, a Christian epitaph on his grandfather, and 
IV. 8. 5, a trivial inscription for a drinking-cup) 
cannot be assigned to the same time with any 
probabihty. Thus the complete collection of his 
letters as originally planned contains no evidence of 
" pagan " poetry written by Sidonius after becoming 
bishop. The first of the two supplementary books 
contains the poem already mentioned describing 
Euric's court (VIII. 9.5);^ it has no trace of Christian 
influence. In the same book (VIII. 11. 3) Sidonius 
quotes a poem written in his old style which certainly 
belongs to his pre-episcopal days. So far he has 
only once broken his vow, and that one breach is so 
venial that it can scarcely be counted against him. 
Book IX is interesting. In the 12th letter, written 
" three Olympiads," i.e. 12 years, after his entry 
into holy orders (§ 2), he tells Oresius of the vow 
he had made on entering the ranks of the clergy to 
give up his old habit of versifying. This letter is 
placed, surely of set purpose, immediately before one 
written several years later, which contains a breach 
of his rule. Then, after a kindly letter to a young 
man with literary ambitions, there comes another in 
which his rule is broken. Next there comes, in the 

1 See pp. xlix 8q[. 


last letter of all, a sort of palinode in verse, in which, 
after sketching his secular career and mentioning the 
honorary statue which his poetry had brought him, 
he speaks in penitent tones of his early verses and 
registers a vow no more to indulge in verse-writing, 
unless it be to celebrate the holy martyrs. ^ The 
way in which these last few letters expose his lapse 
from grace is as good as a sermon. Oresius had asked 
him for a poem {Epist. 12). After explaining that 
he had renounced such frivolities Sidonius promises to 
see if he can find any old compositions to satisfy his 
friend. Nothing of the kind is given in the letter. 
In the next letter (IX. 13) we find that Tonantius has 
asked him for a poem in Asclepiads which he might 
recite at a dinner-party. Sidonius with some show 
of diffidence sends him 28 Asclepiad verses in which 
he protests that he cannot now fitly satisfy such a 
request. This is a small lapse, but the mischief has 
been done ; the memory of his happy days in the 
Muses' company comes upon him and he goes on to 
quote a poem of 120 lines which he had composed at 
a dinner-party in the reign of Majorian.^ In letter 
15 he relapses more completely into the bad old 
ways. Gelasius has heard of the verses written to 
Tonantius and wants some for himself. Sidonius 

^ No doubt in imitation of Prudentius. So far as is known 
he never carried out this ambition. 

* In § 6 Sidonius says that this poem has been lying in a book- 
box for about 20 years. Most authorities think that the 
dinner-party must have occurred at Aries in 461, like the one 
described in Epist. I. 11. In that case 481 is an approximate 
date for the letter to Tonantius; even if we make allowance 
for the vagueness of " about 20 " we can scarcely make it 
earher than 479, the year in which many persons would place 
the death of Sidonius. Mr. Stevens, however (p. 51).- would 
assign the dinner party to the year 459. 



composes a poem specially for him, 55 lines praising 
contemporary writers, and at the end he hints that 
he might be induced to write some more poetry for 
his friend. Then comes the great renunciation in the 
last letter of the book. Thus we find that the poem 
to Euric, which is scarcely to be counted, the very 
short poem in Epist. IX. 13, and the longer one in no. 
15 are the only breaches of his self-denying rule, as 
far as one can gather from his correspondence. It 
is a very creditable record. 

It is not known in what year Sidonius began to 
prepare his letters for publication ; a.d. 469 is as 
likely a date as any.^ The idea was suggested by his 
friend Constantius of Lyons, to whom the work was 
dedicated in the introductory letter. It is certain 
that the collection was published in instalments, 
and not improbable that each book was published 

^ This date was suggested by Mommsen. At first sight 
it conflicts with Epist. I. 1. 4, in which Sidonius says that he 
has a long-estabUshed reputation as a poet. But in the first 
place there can be no doubt that copies of the panegyrics 
were circulated very soon after these poems were recited 
{Carm. VIII, which accompanied a copy of the panegyric 
on Avitus sent to Priscus Valerianus, says, of course with some 
exaggeration, that the applause which greeted the poem is 
still echoing through Rome); in the second place, it is quite 
likely that Carmina 9-24 were first pubhshed about a.d. 463; 
see p. Ivii. Again, those who would put the publication of 
the first book of the letters after the restoration of Sidonius 
to the see of Clermont {i.e. about a.d. 477) forget that his 
attitude to his secular poetry had then changed, and he 
would scarcely have spoken of it with the self-satisfaction 
which he betrays in Epist. I. 1. 4. But the question cannot 
be definitely settled. As it is incredible that any book of 
the letters was published durmg the siege of Clermont, Book 
III, which mentions the siege, must be assigned to a subse- 
quent date. 



separately.^ The last letter of Book VII is an 
epilogue addressed to Constantius. There the 
work was meant to end. But the letters had 
aroused much interest ; there was a demand for a 
supplement, and more and more friends wished to 
be represented in the collection by letters addressed 
to them. At the instance of Petronius he added an 
eighth book.2 In the last letter of this book, which 
is, like the epilogue of Book VII, addressed to Con- 
stantius, he says that he has now no letters left 
which are worth publication, but he gives a broad hint 
that with a little more time he might work up a few, 
and that a ninth book is not an impossibility. Fir- 
minus urged him to produce another book, pleading 
that Pliny had written nine books. ^ Sidonius com- 
plied, and added a book of sixteen letters which 
are by no means the least interesting in the collection. 
With that volume the published correspondence 

Sidonius revised his old letters for publication and 
added several specially written for inclusion in the 
collection. His chief model is Pliny,* though Sym- 
machus also had a great influence on him, especially 

^ The evidence on this head, which is rather complicated, 
will be best considered in the commentary as the passages 
bearing upon it occur; it may, however, be pointed out here 
that it is wrong to cite Epist. I. 1. 1 as evidence that Book I 
was published separately. There Sidonius agrees to a request 
to include in one " volumen" all his letters that merit publi- 
cation. Volumen must therefore mean "book" in the sense 
of a complete work (a meaning for which there is excellent 
authority). Those who take it as "book" in the sense of a 
division of a larger work ignore the word omnes. 

2 See VIII. 1. For Petronius see note on I. 7. 4. 

» IX. 1. 1. 

* Epist. IV. 22. 2 ; ego Plinio ut discipulus assurgo. 



in the later books > The mere fact that nearly every 
letter has only a single theme is, as in the case of 
Pliny, a sure sign that they were considerably 
modified ; real letters to friends are not generally so 
limited.2 Much that we should have liked to know 
about the age and its personalities must have been 
pruned away. Many of the letters are simply 
miniature panegyrics ; derogatory remarks are much 
rarer than one would expect them to be in the 
genuine familiar correspondence of an average human 
being. The many letters to bishops assume a very 
humble, sometimes abject, tone. Nearly every 
letter is assiduously worked up according to the 
principles of contemporary rhetorical teaching. It is 
impossible here to give any adequate idea of the 
ostentatious combination of stylistic elaboration 
with sesquipedalian verbiage, Frontonian archaisms, 
weird neologisms, and verbal jingles which makes 
the correspondence such a nerve-wracking conglo- 
meration. But it would be a mistake to regard the 
style and diction of Sidonius as something new and 
without precedent. He was in the main only carry- 
ing out with misguided zeal and a conspicuous lack 
of taste the principles which had been taught in the 
schools of rhetoric for centuries. These principles 
were often sound enough, and might be helpful to 
people who really had something to say, but even as 
the young men in Quintihan's time had seized on 

^ There are some signs of the influence of Cicero, Ad Fam. 
The more homely and informal style of the letters to Atticus 
can scarcely have appealed to him. 

* An interesting exception is the reference to the unstudious 
habits of his son Apollinaris in Episl. IX. 1.5; but we may 
be sure that this is inserted in imitation of Cicero's words 
about young Marcus. 



Seneca's dulcia viiia^ for imitation and ignored the 
qualities which made him a great writer, so also 
after his time the young students and, too often, 
their professors as well, were inclined to regard com- 
position as a field for the exploitation of specious 
" tricks of the trade," which became ends in them- 
selves and were developed in the most fantastic 
manner. This tendency increased as time went on. 
Sidonius was not an original genius : he was a con- 
scious artist working with traditional materials and 
seeking only to exploit to the uttermost limit all the 
** tips " which he had derived from the mechanical 
teaching of the schools and from his reading of earlier 
writers. The result is a reductio ad ahsurdiim of all the 
resources of rhetoric and a travesty of the Latin 
language. But although he had detractors, most of 
his educated contemporaries seem to have admired 
him. So many recherche effects had never before 
been found concentrated in such small space. If he 
took hberties with the meaning of words, that only 
increased the dazzHng glamour of it all. If he was 
obscure — well, anyhow it was great art, great art, 
my masters ! It is pathetic to find Ruricius humbly 
trying to imitate him though compelled to admit 
that he did not understand him.^ One may be sure 
that in preparing the letters for publication Sidonius 
elaborated and multiplied their mystifying artifices ; 
but most of them must have been rather terrible even 
in their original form. There are some cases where 
he writes more simply, but his manner never com- 
pletely leaves him. 

Sidonius, imitating Pliny, arranges his letters with- 

1 Quintilian X. 1. 129. 
3 Ruric. Epist. II. 26. 3. 



out regard to chronological order, though all the 
letters contained in Books I and II seem to have been 
originally written before his election to the bishopric. 
There are some signs of intentional grouping. The 
whole of Book VI and the first eleven letters of Book 
VII are addressed to bishops ; the same is true of 
letters 13-15 in Book VIII and 2-4 in Book IX. In 
the latter part of Book IX, as we have seen, the 
letters seem to be arranged according to a set plan. 
The collection includes a letter from Claudianus 
Mamertus (IV. 2), which is followed by the reply of 
Sidonius. There is one letter to Papianilla ; all the 
other recipients are men. Not many people are 
honoured by more than one letter, as the number of 
persons anxious to have their names perpetuated by 
inclusion in the correspondence was very large and 
Sidonius was anxious to oblige them. 

Whatever one may think about their style and 
diction, the letters of Sidonius are an invaluable 
source of information on many aspects of the life of 
his time. It is true that one is often tempted to 
sigh for information which he withholds and to upbraid 
him for telling us so little when he might have told 
so much. The appetising lists sometimes drawn up 
of subjects on which he might well have thrown light 
make one's mouth water .^ But he did not set out to 
write a history, and he was unfitted for such a task.^ 
His views were limited. It is doubtful if he really 
thought or cared much about the social evils and 
distresses of his day until he was brought into contact 

^ See, for example, Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, II. 
pp. 372 f. 

^ On his conscious unfitness for historical writing, see below, 
p. Ixvi. 



with them as a bishop ; and even then perhaps he 
only partially realised them. For a good part of his 
life his horizon was bounded by the pride and pre- 
judices of his class ; indeed his aristocratic pride some- 
times breaks out rather ludicrously even in his later 
years. He was not a deep thinker, but he was a 
keen observer of external details. Many of his 
descriptions, in spite of their pretentious language, 
are both vivid and picturesque. From his pages we 
gather much knowledge of the lives led by the Gallo- 
Roman nobility as the Empire in the West tottered 
to its fall. Its pleasures, its good-fellowship, its 
ambitions, and sometimes its lack of ambition, its often 
narrow and pedantic but not unwholesome interests, 
its apparent indifference to many of the most terrible 
things going on around it, all pass before our eyes. 
We find also some valuable pictures of the " barbar- 
ians " who were taking over the Roman heritage. 
Here and there we get pleasing sidelights on the lives 
of great clerics, and we are helped to realise the 
power, mostly beneficent, wielded by the great 
Gallic bishops and priests in those troubled times. 
For these and many other glimpses we may well be 
grateful. As for Sidonius himself, when one has 
recovered from the exhaustion caused by wrestling 
with his showy pedantry one cannot repress a liking 
for him. Amid all his prejudices, his time-serving 
pliability at certain junctures, his excessive pride 
in his lineage and his ill-disguised Hterary vanity, 
one can discern a sympathetic nature and a simple 
goodness of heart. He accepted great responsibilities 
at a testing time and rose nobly to the occasion. He 
walked humbly before God, and all his pride fell 
from him as he contemplated his unfitness for his high 



calling. Though strictly orthodox he is untouched 
by the bitterness which so often showed itself in the 
religious controversies of the day. He abhors the 
religion of the Jews, but he can admire a Jew as a 
man, and he dares to say so.^ No one without 
goodness and charm could have had such a circle of 
devoted friends as he had. He could write in all 
sincerity to Bishop Faustus : " Thanks be to God, not 
even my enemies can charge me with half-hearted 
friendship " (Epist. IX. 9. 5). 

Besides his poems and letters Sidonius wrote a 
number of short speeches or addresses (called by him 
contestatiunculae), a copy of which he sent to Bishop 
Megethius {Epist. VIII. 3). It is not certain that he 
published them. Gregory of Tours (Hist. Fr. II. 
22) refers to masses (missae) composed by him. He 
was urged to write on the war with Attila and es- 
pecially on the siege of Orleans and the wonderful 
achievements of its bishop, Anianus. He found such 
a large task too exacting, but promised to celebrate 
the glories of Anianus {Epist. VHI. 15). There is 
no evidence that this projected work was ever written. 
He declined to write a historical work which Leo had 
suggested to him {Epist. IV. 22). He did not trans- 
late the life of Apollonius of Tyana, as is often said, 
but merely transcribed it (see p. xlix). He wrote 
many poems besides those which have come down 
to us, but it is not certain that he published any 
collection of them.^ 

1 Epist. III. 4. 1 ; cf. VI. 11. 1. 

2 In Epist. II. 8. 2, before quoting the epitaph on Philo- 
mathia, he says to Desideratus : quam (sc. neiiiam) si non 
satis improbas, ceteris epigramriiatum meoriim voluminibus ap- 
plicandam mercennarius hyhliopola suscipiet. Ceteris is loosely 



The numerous manuscripts of Sidonius seem all to 
be derived from a single archetype of no great 
antiquity. They suffer from extensive dislocations, 
interpolations, corruptions, " corrections " and 
lacunae, but as they can very often be successfully 
used to check one another a text in the main satis- 
factory^ can be evolved from them. It is difficult to 
construct a convincing stemma codicum^ but we may 
divide the MSS. into four classes on the basis of 
certain dislocations and of differences in their con- 
tents. I have added to the MSS. most used by Luet- 

used : he means " the existing books (or perhaps ' rolls ') 
of my epigrams." It is probably a case of " transferred epi- 
thet " ; ceterorum would have been more logical : " the books 
containing my other epigrams." 

Klotz (in Pauly-Wissowa, R.-E., s.v. Sidonius) understands 
epigrammata to mean " small poems," hence " trifling verses " 
(nugae). He takes the reference to be to the extant Carmina. 
This view may well be correct, although there does not seem 
to be any passage in Sidonius where the word epigramma must 
necessarily have such an extended meaning. It generally 
means a short poem; see especially Carm. 22 epist. § 6, where 
paucitas is mentioned as characteristic of an epigramma; 
cf. Epist. IV. 8. 4, IX. 13. 2 v. 16, IX. 14. 6. The extended 
meaning may be present in Epist. IX. 12. 3, IX. 13. 6 (where 
there is a competition in the production of epigrammata and 
Sidonius composes a poem of 120 lines), and IX. 16 v. 56. 
It is certainly found in Alcimus Avitus, who humbly speaks 
of a quite lengthy poem as an epigramma; see especially 
Poem. VI. prol. (p. 274 v. 7, Peiper). The source of this use 
is probably Pliny, Epist. IV. 14. 9. 

1 The stemma of Leo (in Luetjohann's edition, p. xli) 
perhaps comes as near to the truth as it is possible to get. 
It is repeated with the addition of the codices N and R by 
M. C. Burke, De Apollinaris Sidonii codice nondum tractato, 
Munich, 1911. 



johann and Mohr the codex R.^ It is impossible 
to mention all the codices. 

Class I. (containing all the writings in the proper 
order, except that in Epist. IX letters 6 and 
7 are put after 9). 
C. Matritensis Ee 102 (formerly at Cluni), 
Madrid. X-XI cent. Much interpolated. 
Akin to this MS. is Vaticanus 3421. X cent. 

Class II. (All with disturbance in the order of the 
letters in Books VI and VII ; some contain 
all the works, some Epist. alone, some Epist. 
and some poems). 
F. Parisinus 9551. XII cent. 

Class III. Intermediate between I and II. 
P. Parisinus 2781. X-XI cent. 

Class IV. (a superior class, but with large lacunae. 

Some contain only Epist.) 
T. Laurentianus plut. XLV. 23, Florence. 

XI-XII cent. 
M. Marcianus 554, Florence. X cent. {Epist. 

and Carm. I-VIII.) 
L. Laudianus lat. 104, Oxford. Epist. only. 

IX cent. The best MS. 
N. Parisinus 18584. Epist. only. X cent. 

Closely akin to L, but with more lacunae 

and numerous " corrections." 
V. Vaticanus \1^^. Epist. only. Xcent. Muti- 
lated at the beginning and in the middle. 

* See note 1, p. Ixvii. Dr. M. Tyson has kindly ascertained 
for me that this Rheims codex has safely survived the Great 
War. My knowledge of its readings is derived entirely from 
Burke's pamphlet. 



R. Remensis 413, Rheims. Epist. only. IX-X 
cent. Closely akin to V. V and R. are 
less closely related to L than N is. 

The fullest account of variant readings is given in 
Luetjohann's edition. Mohr gives a shorter but 
very useful apparatus criticus. 

The following is a short list of works useful to 
the student of Sidonius. An excellent and, on 
the historical side, much more comprehensive 
bibliography will be found in the work of Stevens 
mentioned below, pp. 216-220. 

Text : Critical Editions. 

Gai Sollii Apolli?iaris Sidonii epistulae et carmina. 
Recens. et emend. C. Luetjohann. (Monu- 
menta Germaniae Historica Auct. Antiquiss., 
death of Luetjohann the editing was com- 
pleted by Mojnmsen and Leo, with the assist- 
ance of U. von Wilamowitz-MoellendorfF 
and Buecheler. Mommsen added a life of 
Sidonius and very useful indices of persons 
and places. An index of words and linguistic 
usages, helpful as far as it goes, was compiled 
by E. Grupe, and a list of parallel passages by 
E. Geisler. Interesting information about 
this edition will be found in Mommsen und 
Wilamowitz'. Brief wechsel, Berlin, 1935 (nu- 
merous letters : see the index to the vol. 
s.v. Sidoniusij). 

C Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius. Recens. P. Mohr. 



Text with Commentary. 

Caii Sollii Apollinaris Sidonii opera. lo. Savaro 

recog. et librum commentarium adiecit. 

11. editio auctior et emendatior. Parisiis, 

Ill-digested learning, with much irrelevance, 

but useful in several places. 
C. Sol. Apollin. Sidonii opera, lac. Sirmondi cura et 

studio recognita notisque illustrata. Editio 

secunda. Parisiis, MDCLII. 

A masterpiece, invaluable for its notes on subject- 
matter : the only pity is that they are not more 
numerous. The commentary is reprinted in Migne's 
Patrologia Latina, LVIII. 

There are some useful notes in the edition with 
French translation by Gregoire and Collombet, 3 vols., 
Lyon-Paris, 1836. but as the text is antiquated and 
the translation contemptible, the work is of no 
great value. 


Sidonius has very seldom been translated into any 
language. The only rendering worth mention is a 
translation into English of the letters alone by O. M. 
Dalton, 2 vols., Oxford, 1915. This translation, 
though it does not profess to follow the Latin closely, 
has been justly welcomed by students of Sidonius. 
It is accompanied by a valuable introduction and 
some helpful notes. Besides the effort of Gregoire 
and Collombet, mentioned above, there is another 
French translation (not markedly superior) by Baret 
in Nisard's Collection des auteurs latins (with text: 



along with Ausonius and Venantius Fortunatus), 
Paris, 1887. 

Life and Works of Sidonius. 

Chaix, L. -A. Saint Sidoine Apollhiaire et son siecle. 

2 vols. Clermont-Ferrand, 1866. 
Uncritical, but of considerable value. 
Fertig, M. Cajus Sollius ApoUinaris Sidonius u. 

seine Zeit, nach seinen Werken dargestellt. 3 

parts. Wiirzburg, 1845-6, Passau, 1848. 
Germain, A. Essai litteraire et historique sur 

ApoUinaris Sidonius. Paris, 1840. 
Kaufmann, G. Die Werke des Cajus Sollius 

ApoUinaris Sidonius als eine Quelle fur die 

Geschichte seiner Zeit. Gottingen, 1864. 
Mommsen, T. ApoUinaris Sidonius u. seine Zeit. 

In Reden u. Aufsatze, Berlin, 1905 etc. 
Also in Luetjohann's edition; see above. 
Stevens, C. E. Sidonius ApoUinaris and his Age. 

Oxford, 1933. 
A stimulating and valuable work, to which 

every reader must feel much indebted, even if 

he cannot everjrwhere agree with the author. 

There are useful articles on Sidonius in the Herzog- 
Hauck Realencyclopddie fur protestantische Theologie 
und Kirche (by Arnold), the Pauly-Wissowa Real- 
encycl. d. klass. Altertumsnissenschaft (by Klotz), the 
histories of Latin Literature by Teuffel (vol. 3, 6th 
ed. by Kroll and Skutsch) and Schanz-Hosius- 
Kriiger (IV. 2) ; also in Ebert's Allgemeine Gesch. d. 
Litter atur d. Mittelalters im Abendlaiide, 2nd ed., vol. 
I, pp. 419-448. 



History and Civilisation of the Fifth Century. 

Bury, J. B. History of the later Roman Empire. 

Vol. I, London, 1923. 
Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. I. 2nd ed.. 

Cambridge, 1924. 
Dill, S. Roman Society in the last Century of the 

Western Empire. 2nd ed., Lond., 1899, etc. 
A very readable and illuminating work, with 

some excellent pages on Sidonius and his 

Duchesne, L. Early History of the Christian Church, 

Vol. III. Translated by C. Jenkins. London, 

Fauriel, C. Histoire de la Gaule meridionale sous 

les conquer ants germains. Vol. I, Paris, 

Gibbon. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 

cc. 35 and 36 (in vols. Ill and IV of Bury's 

edition, Lond., 1909). 
This part scarcely shows Gibbon at his best. 
Hodgkin, T. Italy and her Invaders. Vols. I and 

(especially) H. 2nd ed., Lond., 1892. 
Marked by good sense and an absence of the 

vagueness and evasiveness too often found 

in historical works on the fifth century. 
Roger, M. L'enseignement des lettres classiques 

d'Ausone a Alcuin. Paris, 1910. 
Seeck, O. Geschichte d. Untergangs d. Antiken Welt. 

Vol. VI. Stuttgart, 1920. Also articles in 

Pauly-Wissowa, R.-E., on various personages, 

e.g. Avitus, Anthemius, Euric. 
Seeck 's work is valuable, but prejudiced and 

often unreliable. 



Stein, E. Geschichte d, spdtromischen Retches. 
I Band. Vienna, 1928. 
A very able and important work, though one may 
not always agree with it. 
Sundwall, J. Westromische Studien. Berlin, 1915. 
With a valuable prosopography of the fifth cen- 

The Language of Sidonius. 

No comprehensive treatment of this subject exists. 
Besides Grupe's contribution to Luetjohann's edition 
the following pamphlets may be mentioned : 

Engelbrecht, A. Uniersuchungen iiher die Spracke 

des Claudianus Mamertus. Vienna, 1885. 
Grupe, E. Zur Spracke d. Apoll. Sidonius. Zabern, 

Stresses the influence of legal language on the 

vocabulary of Sidonius. 
Kretschmann, H. De latinitate C. Sollii Apoll. 

Sidonii. 2 parts. Memel, 1870, 1872. 
Mohr, P. Zu Apoll. Sidonius. Bremerhaven, 1886. 
Muller, M. De Apoll. Sidonii latinitate. Halle, 



Bitschofsky, R. De C. Sollii Apoll. Sidonii siudiis 

Statianis. Vienna, 1881. 
Brakman, G. Sidoniana et Boethiana. Utrecht, 

Geisler, E. De Apoll. Sidonii siudiis. Breslau, 




Holland, R. Studia Sidoniana. Leipzig, 1905. 
Kraemer, M. Res libraria cadentis aniiqiiitaiis 

Ausonii et Apoll. Sidonii exemplis illustrata. 

Marburg, 1909. 
Schuster, M. De C. Sollii Apoll. Sidonii imiiafioni- 

hus studiisque Horatianis. Vienna etc., 1908. 
Semple, W. H. Quaestiones exegeticae Sidonianae. 

Cambridge, 1930. 
Discusses the interpretation of various passages. 

A very helpful work. 



add. = addidi{t). 

C.M.H. = Cambridge Medieval History. 

Class. Quart, loc. cit. = Classical Quarterly xxviii. 

(January, 1934). 
codd. = codices, i.e. all the MSS. (or all the other 

MSS.) whose readmgs seem worth recording.^ 
def. = defendit. 

dist. = distinod{t) (" punctuated "). 
edit. = editio. 

Other abbreviations, when not self-evident, refer 
to authorities mentioned in the bibliographical part 
of the Introduction. 

* When a reading stands alone after a colon {e.g. sat es 
Mohr : satis), codd. is to be supplied. 





Cum iuvenem super astra lovem natura locaret 

susciperetque novus regna vetusta deus, 
certavere suum venerari numina numen 

disparibusque modis par cecinere sophos. 
Mars clangente tuba patris praeconia dixit 5 

laudavitque sono fulmina fulmineo ; 
Areas et Arcitenens fidibus strepuere sonoris, 

doctior hie eitharae pulsibus, ille lyrae ; 
Castalidumque chorus vario modulamine plausit, 

earminibus, eannis, poRiee, voce, pede. 10 

sed post caelicolas etiam mediocria fertur 

cantica semideum sustinuisse deus. 
tunc Faunis Dryades Satyrisque Mimallones aptae 

fuderunt lepidum, rustica turba, melos. 
alta cicuticines liquerunt Maenala Panes 15 

postque chelyn placuit fistula rauca lovi. 

^ Mercury (Hermes), who was bom in a cave of M. Cyllene, 
in Ai'cadia. 

2 ApoUo; cf. 23. 266. 





When nature established the young Jupiter above 
the stars and the new god was entering upon an 
ancient sovereignty, all the deities vied in paying 
worship to their deity, and uttered in diverse 
measures the same " bravo." Mars with trumpet's 
blare acclaimed his sire and with thunderous din 
praised the thunderbolts. The Arcadian^ and the 
Archer God^ sounded the clanging strings, the one 
more skilled to strike the zither, the other the lyre. 
Castalia's maiden band gave forth their plaudits in 
varied strains with songs, reeds, thumb, voice and 
foot. But after the denizens of heaven, 'tis said, the 
god brooked even the inferior chants of demigods ; 
then Dryads in union with Fauns, Mimallones ^ with 
Satyrs, a rustic multitude, poured forth a sprightly 
song. The Pans that sound the hemlock-reed left 
high Maenalus, and after the lyre the hoarse pipe 

• Nymph-attendants of Bacchus. 


hos inter Chiron, ad plectra sonantia saltans, 

flexit inepta sui membra facetus equi ; 
semivir audiri meruit meruitque placere, 

quamvis hinnitum, dum canit, ille daret. 20 

ergo sacrum dives et pauper lingua litabat 

summaque tunc voti victima cantus erat. 
sic nos, o Caesar, nostri spes maxima saecli, 

post magnos proceres parvula tura damus, 
audacter docto coram Victore canentes, 25 

aut Phoebi aut vestro qui solet ore loqui ; 
qui licet aeterna sit vobis quaestor in aula, 

aeternum nobis ille magister erit. 
ergo colat variae te, princeps, hostia linguae ; 

nam nova templa tibi pectora nostra facis. 30 



Auspicio et numero fasces, Auguste, secundos 
erige et effulgens trabealis mole metalli 
annum pande novum consul vetus ac sine fastu 

^ This idea recurs in 14. 27-30. 

* Victor, quaestor sacri palatii under Anthemius. The 
holder of this office acted as the Emperor's mouthpiece in the 
Consistory, the Senate, and elsewhere. He was responsible 
for the drafting of laws and of Imperial answers to petitions. 
Rutilius Namatianus (1, 172) likewise describes the quaestor 
as " speaking with the mouth of the Emperor." Cf. Claudian, 
Fl. Mall. Cons. 35, and below, C. 5. 569 ; also Epist. viii. 3. 3. 
Phoebi ore refers to Victor's poetry. 

^ vestro = tuo; so in the next line vohis = tibi. There 
seems to be no certain instance of this use before the third 
century. It is quite common in Sidonius. 


pleased Jove's ears. Amid this throng Chiron, 
dancing to the sounding quill, moved his ungainly 
horse-limbs elegantly, and that beast-man earned a 
hearing and found grace even though he neighed 
in the midst of his singing.^ 

So tongues rich and poor made an acceptable 
offering, and the greatest tribute in that day's 
sacrifice was song. In like manner, O Caesar, 
chiefest hope of our time, I come after great lords 
and offer thee humble incense, boldly singing my 
lay in presence of the learned Victor ,2 vi^ho is wont to 
speak either with the voice of Phoebus or with thine ,^ 
and who, though he is quaestor in thine everlasting 
court, shall everlastingly be my master.* So, my 
prince, let offering of diverse utterance pay worship 
to thee ; for thou makest our hearts new temples for 
thy habitation. 



Raise up, Augustus, thy second ^ fasces, seconded 
by Fortune ; gleaming with mass of gold upon thy 
robe do thou, an old consul, begin the new year, 
and deem it no disgrace to grace ^ the roll of office 

* i.e. although he is your subordinate, he shall always be 
my master. M agister implies " teacher," but there is a play 
on the use of the word in the titles of various Imperial officials. 
Victor may have been one of Sidonius' teachers at Lyons or 
elsewhere, but the present passage does not prove it. 

^ Recited to the Senate on Jan. 1, a.d. 468. See Introd., 
p. xl, and Epist. 1. 9. 

* A play (as old as Ovid) on the two meanings of secundus, 
" second " and " propitious." Anthemius had been consul 
for the first time in a.d. 455. 

' The translator has done his poor best to reproduce one 
part of the verbal jingle fastu, fastis, fastigatus. 



scribere bis fastis ; quamquam diademate crinem 
fastigatus eas umerosque ex more priorum 5 

includat Sarrana chlamys, te picta togarum 
purpura plus capiat, quia res est semper ab aevo 
rara frequens consul, tuque o cui laurea, lane, 
annua debetur, religa torpore soluto 
quavis fronde comas, subita nee luce pavescas 10 

principis aut rerum credas elementa moveri. 
nil natura novat : sol hie quoque venit ab ortu. 

Hie est, o proceres, petiit quem Romula virtus 
et quem vester amor ; cui se ceu victa procellis 
atque carens rectore ratis respublica fractam 15 

intulit, ut digno melius flectenda magistro, 
ne tempestates, ne te, pirata, timeret. 
te prece ruricola expetiit, te foedere iunctus 
adsensu, te castra tubis, te curia plausu, 
te punctis scripsere tribus collegaque misit 20 

te nobis regnumque tibi ; suffragia tot sunt 
quanta legit mundus. fateor, trepidavimus omnes, 
ne vellet collega pius permittere voto 
publica vota tuo. credet ventura propago ? 
in nos ut possint, princeps, sic cuncta licere, 25 

24-26. dist. ego. Cf. 7. 310, 421 sq. 

^ i.e. of Tyrian purple. Gallienus was the first emperor to 
wear the chlamys at Rome (Hist. Aug., Gallien, 16. 4). 

^ i.e. the toga picta (purple with gold embroidery), which, 
with the tunica palmata, had become the official garb of the 
consuls, and is here contrasted with the Imperial garb, 

' pirata : with special reference to Geiseric. Cf . v. 354. 

*• Joed, iunct., i.e., the "barbarian" foederati (Introd., 
p. X, n. 2). Their assent was important. 



twice with thy name. Althousrh thou walkest with 
a diadem surmounting thy iiair and thy shoulders 
are covered by a Tyrian ^ mantle after the fashion 
of thy predecessors, yet may the bright purple 
of the consul's gown^ charm thee more ; for repeated 
consulships have from all time been rare. And 
thou, Janus, to whom a laurel wreath is due every 
year, dispel thy lethargy, bind thy locks with any 
foliage ; and be not affrighted by the sudden radiance 
of our prince, nor deem that the elements are in up- 
heaval. Nature is making no change ; this day's 
Sun also has come from the East. 

This, my Lords, is the man for whom Rome's 
brave spirit and your love did yearn, the man to 
whom our commonwealth, like a ship overcome by 
tempests and without a pilot, hath committed her 
broken frame, to be more deftly guided by a worthy 
steersman, that she may no more fear storm or 
pirate.^ The country-dweller's prayer, the good- 
will of the leagued peoples,* the trumpet in the camp, 
the plaudits in the senate-house all called for thee ; 
for thee have the tribes recorded their suffrages,^ 
and thy colleague hath consigned thee to us and the 
sovereignty to thee : all the votes that the whole 
world can muster are for thee. I confess we w^ere all 
sore disquieted lest thine honest colleague should 
commit to thine own decision what all the people 
had decided. Will future generations believe it? — 
to ensure, O Prince, that this complete power over 

• A mere rhetorical flourish. The mention of the army, 
the Senate, and the eastern Emperor is quite correct, as 
they all played some part in the election of a western 
Emperor, but the people might merely *' acclaim " him 
after his election. Cf. 6. 386-388. 



de te non totum licuit tibi. facta priorum 
exsuperas, Auguste Leo ; nam regna superstat 
qui regnare iubet : melius respublica vestra 
nunc erit una magis, quae sic est facta duorum. 

Salve, sceptrorum columen, regina Orientis, 30 
orbis Roma tui, rerum mihi principe misso 
iam non Eoo solum veneranda Quiriti, 
imperii sedes, sed plus pretiosa quod exstas 
imperii genetrix. Rhodopen quae portat et 

Thracum terra tua est, heroum fertilis ora. 35 

excipit hie natos glacies et matris ab alvo 
artus infantum molles nix civica durat. 
pectore vix alitur quisquam, sed ab ubere tractus 
plus potat per vulnus equum ; sic lacte relicto 
virtutem gens tota bibit. crevere parumper : 40 

mox pugnam ludunt iaculis ; hos suggerit illis 
nutrix plaga iocos. pueri venatibus apti 
lustra feris vacuant, rapto ditata inventus 
iura colit gladii, consunmnatamque senectam 
non ferro finire pudet : tali ordine vitae 45 

cives Martis agunt. at tu circumflua ponto 
Europae atque Asiae commissam carpis utrimque 

* Leo, the eastern Emperor, who nominated Anthemius 
as Emperor of the West. 

2 Constantinople was called New Rome in a law of Constan- 
tine. Other titles were " Eastern Rome " and " Second 

' Plus often usurped the fimctions of magis, as magis 
usurped those of potius. Sed magis is used for " but rather " 
even in the poetry of the classical period. Here sed plus has 
the same meaning. Plus quam -is sometimes found in the 


us should be thine, full power over thyself was denied 
thee. Augustus Leo,^ thou dost surpass the deeds 
of thy forerunners ; for he who can command a man 
to reign towers above regal power. Now your 
government shall be more perfectly one, having thus 
become a government of two. 

All hail to thee, pillar of sceptred power, Queen of 
the East, Rome of thy hemisphere,^ no longer to be 
worshipped by the eastern citizen alone, now that 
thou hast sent me a sovereign prince — O home of 
Empire, and more precious in that thou appearest 
before the world as Empire's mother! The land of 
the Thracians, whereon Rhodope and Haemus rest, 
is thine, a region fruitful of heroes. Here children 
are born into a world of ice, and their native snow 
hardens the soft limbs of infants even from the 
mother's womb. Scarce anyone is reared at the 
breast; rather ^ is he dragged from the maternal 
bosom to suck from a horse through a wound; 
thus deserting milk the whole race drinks in 
courage. They have grown but a short time, and 
anon they play at battle with javelins; this sport 
is prompted by the wounds that suckled them. 
The boys, gifted hunters, clear the dens of their 
beasts; the young men, enriched with plunder, 
honour the laws of the sword ; and when their old 
age has reached its fullness not to end it with 
steel is a disgrace. Thus do these countrymen 
of Mars order their lives. But thou, surrounded by 
the sea, dost imbibe a tempered blend of Europe's 
and Asia's air, commingled from two sides; 

sense of potius quam. Another use of plus = magis is to 
form comparatives {e.g. v. 33 above). This is common in 
Sidonius : see Schmalz-Hofmann, Syntax, pp. 463 f. 


temperiem ; nam Bistonios Aquilonis hiatus 
proxima Calchidici sensim tuba temperat Euri. 
interea te Susa tremunt ac supplice cultu 50 

flee tit Achaemenius lunatum Persa tiaram. 
Indus odorifero crinem madefaetus amomo 
in tua lucra feris exarmat guttur alumnis, 
ut pandum dependat ebur ; sic trunea reportat 
Bosphoreis elephas inglorius ora tributis. 55 

porrigis ingentem spatiosis moenibus urbem, 
quam tamen angustam populus facit ; itur in aequor 
molibus et veteres tellus nova eontrahit undas ; 
namque Dicarcheae translatus pulvis harenae 
intratis solidatur aquis durataque massa 60 

sustinet advectos peregrine in gurgite campos. 
sic te dispositam spectantemque undique portus, 
vallatam pelago terrarum commoda cingunt. 
fortunata sat es Romae partita triuraphos, 
et iam non querimur : valeat divisio regni. 65 

concordant lancis partes ; duni pondera nostra 
suscipis, aequasti. 

Tali tu civis ab urbe 
Procopio genitore micas, cui prisca propago 
Augustis venit a proavis ; quem dicere digno 
64. sat es Mohr : satis. 

^ Sidonius means Calcliedonius or Chalcedonius, from Chal- 
cedon, which faced Constantinople on the Asiatic side of the 

2 Lunatus may mean "moon-shaped" or "crescent- 
shaped," but among the many forms of the tiara I have not 
found one really entitled to such a description. The epithet 
may refer to the ornamentation. Martial uses lunatus for 
" decorated with crescents." 

^ Dicarchus, or Dicaearchus, was the founder of Puteoli. 
The reference is to pulvis Puieolanus {pozzolana)^ a volcanic 
earth found near Puteoli. The cement made from it sets 
hard when submerged in water. The " invasion " of the sea 



for the Thraciiui blasts of Aquilo are gradually 
softened by the breath of Eurus' trumpet, wafted 
from Calchis^ hard by. Meanwhile Susa trembles 
before thee, and the Persian of Achaemenes' race 
in suppliant guise inclines his crescent-tiara.^ The 
Indian, with hair steeped in fragrant balm, disarms 
for thy profit the throat of his land's wild denizens, 
that he may make payment of curved ivory ; thus the 
elephant takes home ingloriously a mouth shorn of 
the tribute yielded to the Bosphorus. Thou dost 
spread out a great city of spacious walls, yet doth the 
multitude therein make its bounds too narrow; 
so the sea is invaded with massive masonry and new 
land cramps the old waters; for the dusty sand of 
Puteoli 3 is brought thither and made solid by enter- 
ing the water, and the hardened mass bears upon it 
imported plains amid an alien flood. Thus art thou 
ordered; on all sides thou beholdest harbours, and, 
walled in as thou art by the sea, thou art surrounded 
by all the blessings of earth. Right fortunate art 
thou in having shared Rome's triumphs, and now we 
regret it no longer ; farewell to the division of the 
empire ! The two sides of the balance are poised ; 
by taking over our weights thou hast made all even. 
^v, A citizen from such a city, thou shinest also with 
the lustre of thy father Procopius,* whose ancient 
lineage springs from imperial ancestors, a man 

here described took place at various points of the shore when 
the -walls of Constantino were no longer able to contain the 
whole population. For subsequent extensions and for the 
harbours see Bury, Later Rom. Emp. I. pp. 70-73. 

* Procopius, a Galatian who rose to be magister militum per 
Orientem and patrician. He obviously claimed descent from 
the Procopius who was a so-called Emperor for a few months 
(365-6), and who seems to have been related to the house of 



non datur eloquio, nee si modo surgat Averno 70 

qui cantu flexit seopulos digitisque eanoris 
eompulit auritas ad pleetrum currere silvas, 
eum starent Hebri latiees eursuque ligato 
fluminis attoniti earmen magis unda sitiret. 

Huie quondam iuveni reparatio eredita paeis 75 
Assyriae ; stupuit primis se Parthus in annis 
eonsilium non ferre senis ; conterritus haesit 
quisque sedet sub rege satraps : ita vinxerat omnes 
legati genius, tremuerunt Medica rura, 
quaeque draconigenae portas non clauserat hosti, 80 
turn demum Babylon nimis est sibi visa patere. 
partibus at postquam statuit nova formula foedus 
Procopio dictante magis, iuratur ab illis 
ignis et unda deus, nee non rata paeta futura 
hie divos testatur avos. Chaldaeus in extis 85 

pontificum de more senex arcana peregit 
murmura ; gemmantem pateram rex ipse retentans 
fudit turicremis carchesia cernuus aris. 
suscipit hinc reducem duplicati culmen honoris : 

^ Orpheus. There is a similar passage in 23. 178-94. 

^ Sidonius likes elliptical uses of magis and plus. The point 
here seems to be " the river was thirsty rather than tiiirst- 
quenching." Cf. 23. 194. 

^ i.e. to Procopius. 


whom no eloquence could worthily celebrate — not 
even if from Avernus that bard^ should arise who 
once with his song swayed rocks and with his tuneful 
fingers impelled the woods to hasten, all ears, to the 
sounding quill, while the waters of Hebrus stood still 
and, its flow held fast, the waves of the entranced 
river were strangely athirst ^ for song. 

To him 3 once in his youth was committed the 
restoring of peace with Assyria.* The Parthian was 
amazed that he had no power to withstand the aged 
wisdom of those youthful years. Every satrap that 
sat below the king faltered in terror, so strongly had 
the envoy's genius gripped them. The Median 
realms trembled, and Babylon, that had not closed 
her gates against the serpent-born foe, ^ now at last 
thought herself too widely opened. Then when a 
treaty had been established between them on new 
terms, recited by Procopius to the Magi, they took 
oath by their gods, fire and water, and he called his 
divine ancestors to witness that the bargain should 
be upheld. An aged Chaldaean over a victim's 
entrails, in the manner of the pontiffs, muttered the 
mystic words, and the king himself, holding a jewelled 
bowl, stooped and poured out cups over the incense- 
burning altar. When the envoy returned, the 
eminence of a twofold honour welcomed him; 

* Assyriae, Parthus, Medica. All these refer to the Persian 
empire. This embassy negotiated terms of peace with 
Varahran V in a.d. 422 after a war caused by the persecutions 
of Christians in Persia. Bury, II. pp. 4 f. 

^ Alexander the Great; see w. 121-3. Babylon admitted 
Alexander without a struggle. Sidonius absurdly implies 
that she showed contempt for his impending attack by 
keeping her gates open. A similar idea occurs in v. 449 
(unless we read strident). 



patricius nee non peditumque equitumque magister 
praeficitur eastris, ubi Tauri claustra eohereens 91 
Aethiopasque vagos belli terrore relegans 
gurgite pacato famulum spectaret Orontem. 

Huic socer Anthemius, praefectus, consul et idem, 
iudiciis populos atque annum nomine rexit. 95 

purpureos Fortuna viros cum murice semper 
prosequitur ; solum hoc tantum mutatur in illis, 
ut regnet qui consul erat. sed omittimus omnes : 
iam tu ad plectra veni, tritus cui casside crinis 
ad diadema venit, rutilum cui Caesaris ostrum 100 
deposit© thorace datiu* sceptroque replenda 
mucrone est vacuata manus. cunabula vestra 
imperii fulsere notis et praescia tellus 
aurea converse promisit saecula fetu. 
te nascente ferunt exorto flumina melle 105 

dulcatis cunctata vadis oleique liquores 
isse per attonitas baca pendente trapetas. 

^ He became magister utriiisque militiae (or m. peditum et 
pquitum or m. peditum equitumque), receiving the eastern com- 
mand. In the eastern Empire there were five such officers, 
two "in the Presence" and three with special districts assigned 
to them. They all received the patriciate sooner or later. In 
the west there were originally only two such magistri militum 
(this, or vmg. militiae, is a handy abbreviation which may be 
used of all such officers). These were called magister peditum 
and mag. equitum respectively, but as the magister peditum held 
a superior command over both infantry and cavalry he came 
to be called magister peditum equitumque or mugister uiriusqv^ 
militiae. By and by this title was extended to the magister 
equitum, and his all-powerful superior is specially designated 
as Patricius; he was " The Patrician " par excellence, not only 
commander-in-chief but leading adviser and right-hand man 
of the Emperor. In this sense the title was borne by Aetius, 
Ricimer, and others. [This seems to be the prevalent view ; 
see, however. Professor Norman Baynes in Journ. Rom. 
Stud. XII. (1922), pp. 224-229.J 


Patrician now and Master of Horse and Foot,^ he was 
set in command of camps where he must needs hold 
the barriers of Taurus and force the roaming Ethi- 
opians over the border by the terror of war and 
behold Orontes with calmed flood subservient to 
his will. 

His wife's father was Anthemius,^ who, as prefect 
and likewise consul, ordered peoples by his judgments 
and the year by his name. Men of the purple ^ are 
ever attended by Fortune with purple ready to 
bestow; the only change that happens to them is 
that he who was consul becomes sovereign. But I pass 
over all the others : come thou to my lyre, thou whose 
hair frayed by the warrior's helmet came^ to wear the 
diadem, thou who hast laid aside the breastplate to 
receive the glowing purple of a Caesar, and whose 
hand hath been emptied of the sword to be filled with 
the sceptre. Thy cradle gleamed with tokens of 
imperial power, and the prophetic earth, altering her 
progeny, gave promise of a golden age. They tell 
how, at thy birth, honey appeared, making rivers 
flow tardily with sweetened waters, and oil ran 
through the amazed mills while the ohve-berry still 

* Aathemius, a leading figure in the early part of the fifth 
century ; comes sacrarum largitionum 400, magister officiorvm 
404, praefectus praetorio orientis 404-415, consul 405, patricius 
not later than 406 ; regent for the young Theodosius II on the 
death of Arcadius (408). He built the new walls of Con- 
stantinople (413). 

' i.e. of Imperial or consular family : for the association 
of purple with the consulship see v. 7 n., also 24. 98. The 
meaning is that consulships and the Imperial throne are the 
natural destiny of such persons. 

* venit is Historic Present, which Sidonius uses very freely. 
The rather frigid iteration veni — venit is no doubt intentional. 



protulit undantem segetem sine semine campus 

et sine se natis invidit pampinus uvis. 

hibernae rubuere rosae spretoque rigore 110 

lilia permixtis insultavere pruinis. 

tale puerperium quotiens Lucina resolvit, 

mos elementorum cedit regnique futuri 

fit rerum novitate fides, venisse beatos 

sic loquitur natiira deos : constantis luli 115 

lambebant teneros incendia blanda capillos ; 

Astyages Cyro pellendus forte nepoti 

inguinis expavit difFusum vite racemum ; 

praebuit intrepido mammas lupa feta Quirino ; 

lulius in lucem venit dum laurea flagrat ; 120 

magnus Alexander nee non Augustus habentur 

concepti serpente deo Phoebumque lovemque 

divisere sibi : namque horum quaesiit unus 

Cinyphia sub Sjrrte patrem ; maculis genetricis 

alter Phoebigenam sese gaudebat haberi, 125 

Paeonii iactans Epidauria signa draconis. 

multos cinxerunt aquilae subitumque per orbem 

lusit Venturas famulatrix penna coronas. 

ast hunc, egregii proceres, ad sceptra vocari 

iam tum nosse datum est, laribus cum forte paternis 

protulit excisus iam non sua germina palmes. 131 

1 Verg. Aen. II. 682. 

2 Herodotus I. 108. He dreamed that a vine issued from 
his daughter's womb and spread over all Asia. 

' This story does not seem to occur in any previous writer. 
Possibly it was in the early part (now lost) of Suetonius' 

* Alexander the Great claimed to be the son of Zeus Ammon, 
Augustus was rumoured to be the son of Apollo ; these gods 
were said to have visited the mothers in the form of serpents. 
For accoxints of Alexander's miraculous birth see, for example, 



hung upon the bough. The plain brought forth 
without seed a waving crop and the vine-branch 
looked grudgingly on the grapes brought into being 
without her. Roses blushed red in winter and lilies 
scorning the cold mocked the surrounding frosts. 
When Lucina is bringing such a birth to fulfilment the 
order of the elements gives way and a changed 
world gives assurance of coming sovereignty. Thus 
does nature declare that blessed gods have arrived. 
Flames played lovingly round the childish locks of the 
staunch lulus ^; Astyages,^ fated to be dethroned by 
his grandson Cyrus, shuddered to see the grape- 
clusters spreading from the vine that grew from the 
womb ; the m.other-wolf gave suck to the untroubled 
Quirinus ; Julius came into the world whilst a 
laurel blazed^; Alexander the Great and Augustus 
are deemed to have been conceived of a serpent 
god,* and they claimed between them Phoebus and 
Jupiter as their progenitors ; for one of them sought 
his sire near the Cinyphian Syrtes, the other rejoiced 
that from his mother's marks he was deemed the 
offspring of Phoebus, and he vaunted the imprints 
of the healing serpent of Epidaurus. Many have been 
encircled by eagles, and a quick-formed ring of 
cringing plumage has playfully figured the crown that 
was to come. But as for this prince of ours, illustrious 
Lords, right early might it be known that he was 
destined for the sceptre, when it came to pass that in 
his father's house a severed vine-branch brought 
forth shoots no longer its own. That was the 

Justin, xi. 11 and Plutarch Alex. cc. 2 sq.; for Augustus see 
Suet. Aug. 94. From v. 126 it seems clear that Sidonius repre- 
sents Augustus as claiming to be the son of Aesculapius, and 
therefore the graticUon of Apollo. 



imperii ver illud erat ; sub imagine frondis 
dextra per arentem florebant omina virgam. 
at postquam primes infans exegerat annos, 
reptabat super arma patris, quamque arta terebat 135 
lammina cervicem gemina complexus ab ulna 
livida laxatis intrabat ad oscula cristis. 
ludus erat puero raptas ex hoste sagittas 
festina tractare manu captosque per arcus 
flexa reluctantes in cornua trudere nervos, 140 

nunc tremulum tenero iaculum torquere lacerto 
inque frementis equi dorsum cum pondere conti 
indutas Chalybum saltu transferre catenas, 
inventas agitare feras et fronde latentes 
quaerere, deprensas modo claudere cassibus artis, 
nunc torto penetrare veru : tum saepe fragore 146 
laudari comitum, frendens cum belua ferrum 
ferret et intratos exirent arma per armos. 
conde Pelethronios, alacer puer et venator, 
Aeacida, titulos, quamquam subiecta magistri 150 
terga premens et ob hoc securus lustra pererrans 
tu potius regereris equo. non principe nostro 
spicula direxit melius Pythona superstans 
Paean, cum vacua turbatus paene pharetra 
figeret innumeris numerosa volumina telis. 155 

140. tenders Buecheler. 

^ As the boy's hands seem to be otherwise engaged {v. 136), 
the idea may be that he eagerly pushes the visor up with his 
face untU it is sufficiently open for his purpose. In any case 
the metal bruises him as he tries to snatch a kiss — this seems 
to be the meaning of livida osciila ; but the same adjective is 
used in 7. 742 to denote the discoloration of the skin through 
wearing a helmet, and Dr. Semple {Qiiaest. Ex., p. 69) may be 
right in finding the same reference here. Cristis means 



spring-time of his sovereignty ; in the guise of leafat/e 
happy omens burgeoned along that withered branch. 
But when the early years of infancy were past he 
would clamber over his father's armour, and gripping 
with his two forearms the neck pressed by the 
close-fitting metal he would loosen the helmet and 
find an entrance for his livid kisses.^ In boyhood it 
was his sport to handle eagerly arrows that had been 
seized from the foe, and on captive bows to force 
the resisting strings on to the curving horn, or to hurl 
with boyish arm the quivering javelin, or with a 
leap to throw upon the back of a chafing steed all 
his weight of steel chain-armour and heavy lance ; 
or at other times to find and chase the wild beasts, 
to seek them in their leafy lurking-places and, when 
he espied them, sometimes to enclose thein in a 
tight net, sometimes to pierce them with cast of 
spear. Then would he oft be cheered with great 
noise by his comrades, as with gnashing teeth the 
beast received the steel and the weapon entered and 
passed clean through the shoulders. Now hide thy 
Thessalian honours, scion of Aeacus,^ high-mettled 
boy and hunter — though, as thou didst bestride thy 
master's compliant back, and so traverse the haunts 
of beasts in safety, it was rather thou that wert con- 
trolled by thy steed. Even Paean Apollo did not 
aim his shafts better than our prince, as the god stood 
over Python and, sore distressed, with quiver well- 
nigh emptied, pierced those mmierous coils with in- 
numerable weapons. 

" helmet," as in 7. 242. This rare use occurs first in Silius IV. 
156, but Sidonius probably borrowed it from Claudian, Rufin. 
I. 346. 

2 Aeacida, Achilles : 7nagistri, Chiron the centaur. 



Nee minus haec inter veteres audire sophistas : 
Mileto quod crete Thales vadimonia culpas ; 
Lindie quod Cleobule canis " modus optimus esto "; 
ex Ephyra totum meditaris quod Periander ; 
Attice quodve Solon finem bene respicis aevi ; 160 
Prienaee Bia, quod plus tibi turba malorum est ; 
noscere quod tempus, Lesbo sate Pittace, suades ; 
quod se nosse omnes vis, ex Laeedaemone Chilon. 
praeterea didicit varias, nova dogmata, sectas : 
quidquid laudavit Scythicis Anacharsis in arvis ; 
quidquid legifero profecit Sparta Lycurgo ; 166 

quidquid Erechtheis Cynicorum turba volutat 
gymnasiis, imitata tuos. Epicure, sodales ; 
quidquid nil verum statuens Academia duplex 
personat ; arroso quidquid sapit ungue Cleanthes ; 
quidquid Pythagoras, Democritus, Heraclitus 171 
deflevit, risit, tacuit ; quodcumque Platonis 
ingenium, quod in arce fuit, docet ordine terno, 

165. laudatum est codd. 

^ Cf. 15. 44 sqq., where the maxims of the Seven Sages are 
the same as here, except in the case of Solon. The saying 
attributed to Periander seems to have been originally fieXerrj 
(Doric /LicAera) to ttuv, " practice is everything," " practice 
makes perfect " ; but Sidonius, like several other ancient 
authors, takes fieXtra as the imperative of the verb ixeXerdv, 
" to practise." 

2 The Cynics were more allied in doctrine to the Stoics than 
to the Epicureans, and Sidonius may really be thinking of the 
Cyrenaics; but Augustine, CD. xix. 1 ad fin., asserts 
that philosophers with very different views of the summum 
bonum (in some cases " virtue," in others " pleasure ") adopted 
the dress and customs of the Cynic school and were called 
C7/nici. Origen, In Exod. Horn. iv. § 6 (p. 178, 11. 21 £E., 
Baehrens), alleges that the Cynics make " pleasure and lust " 
their summum bonum ; cf. Augustine, Contra Acad. III. 19. 42. 

' The doctrine that certain truth is unattainable belongs 
especially to the New Academy, but Cicero, as Mr. Semple 


And amid all these doings he busied himself no 
less in hearkening to the lore of ancient sages ^ ; how 
Thales, that son of Miletus, condemned all lawsuits, 
how Cleobulus of Lindus sings " Let moderation be 
our ideal," how Periander of Corinth practises 
everything, how Athenian Solon keeps his eye wisely 
fixed on life's end, how Bias of Priene deems the 
wicked to be the majority, how Pittacus, native of 
Lesbos, advises to mark well the opportune time, 
and how Chilon of Lacedaemon would have all men 
know themselves. Moreover, he learned new doc- 
trines of divers schools — whatsoever in the Scythian 
land Anacharsis praised, all the gain that Sparta 
got with Lycurgus for her law-giver, all that the 
company of Cynics debates in the Erechthean 
gymnasium, copying the disciples of Epicurus ^ ; all 
that the two Academies ^ loudly proclaim, affirming 
naught to be true ; all the wisdom that Cleanthes 
has won with much biting of nails*; the tears of 
HeracHtus, the laughter of Democritus, or the 
silence of Pythagoras ; whatsoever teaching Plato's 
intellect, which dwelt in the citadel,^ sets forth in 

points out (p. 71), claims that the attitude of the Old Academy, 
even of Plato himself, was similar {Ac. I. 46). 

* The biting of the nails seems to have been traditionally 
associated with Cleanthes. Cf. Epist. IX. 9. 14. Probably he 
was 80 represented in some well-known work of art. 

' in arce. Plato taught that the rational part of the soul 
resides in the head, which is, as it were, the citadel which 
commands the non-rational parts (the passionate and the 
appetitive), situated respectively in the breast and under the 
midriff. The doctrine is briefly stated in Cic. Tusc. I. 20. 
In arcefuit could also mean " was pre-eminent" (cf. 23. 142), 
and there may be a double entente here, Ordine temo probably 
refers, not to the tripartite division of the soul, but to the 
division of Philosophy into Physics, Logic, and Ethics. See 
15. 100 f. and note. 

VOL. I. D 


quae vel Aristoteles, partitus membra loquendi, 
argumentosis dat retia syllogismis ; 175 

quidquid Anaximenes, Euclides, Archyta, Zenon, 
Arcesilas, Chrysippus Anaxagorasque dederunt, 
Socraticusque animus post fatum in Phaedone vivus, 
despiciens vastas tenuato in crure catenas, 
cum tremeret mors ipsa reum ferretque venenum 
pallida securo lictoris dextra magistro. 181 

praeterea quidquid Latialibus indere libris 
prisca aetas studuit, totum percurrere suetus : 
Mantua quas acies pelagique pericula lusit 
Zmyrnaeas imitata tubas, quamcumque loquendi 185 
Arpinas dat consul opem, sine fine secutus 
fabro progenitum, spreto cui patre polita 
eloquiis plus lingua fuit, vel quidquid in aevum 
mittunt Euganeis Patavina volumina chartis ; 
qua Crispus brevitate placet, quo pondere Varro, 
quo genio Plautus, quo fulmine Quintilianus, 191 

qua pompa Tacitus numquam sine laude loquendus. 

179. in C, om. codd. plerique. 

186. secutus fabro progenitum 3Iohr et Luetjohann : locutus 
tabro progenitus. 

^ Homer. * Cicero. 

' Demosthenes, of. 23. 143; Juvenal X. 130-32. The 
father of Demosthenes was a wealthy sword-manufacturer. 
Polita contains an allusion to the father's trade ; Sidonius 
uses polire in the sense of "sharpen"; cf. expolire, 23. 144. 

* The works of Livy. The Euganei inhabited Venetia, 
but were driven out by the Veneti. Euganeus in poetry 
means "Venetian," and especially " Paduan." Padua 
(Patavium) was Livy's birthplace. 

^ Sallust (C. Sallustius Crispus). 

• Sidonius, Uke other late authors, uses genius in various 
meanings, not always easy to determine. The renderings 
given in this version generally follow the Thesaurus Linguae 



triple array; or again, the snares that Aristotle, 
dividing speech into its members, sets for us with 
his syllogistic reasoning ; and also whatever has been 
bestowed by Anaximenes, Euclid, Archytas, Zeno, 
Arcesilas, Chrysippus and Anaxagoras, and by the 
soul of Socrates as it lives after his death in the 
Pkaedo, a soul that recked naught of the huge fetters 
on his wasted leg, while death's self trembled before 
the prisoner and the executioner's hand was pale 
as it proffered the poison, though the master's heart 
was untroubled. Besides these he was wont to 
range through all that antiquity strove to inscribe 
on Latin pages : the battles and the ocean perils 
that Mantua paraded, copying the trumpet-tones 
of Smyrna's bard ^ ; whatever aid to speaking the 
consul of Arpinum^ affords, he who follows without 
ceasing that smith's son^ who set his father at naught, 
deeming more precious a tongue made keen by use 
of eloquence ; or again whatever the volumes of the 
Paduan* deliver for all time in those Euganean 
pages ; the brevity that wins applause in Crispus,^ 
the weightiness of Varro, the wit^ of Plautus, the 
hghtning of Quintilian,' and the majesty of Tacitus,® 
a name never to be uttered without praise. 

' This can scarcely refer to the Institutio Oratoria. Quin- 
tilian in early life published one of his speeches, and garbled 
versions of others were pubhshed without his authority. 
But Sidonius is almost certainly thinking not of these but of the 
declamations (mostly still extant) which were falsely attributed 
to Quintilian. Cf. 9. 317; Epist. V, 10. 3. Fulmen is applied 
to eloquence by Quintilian himself, VIII. 6. 7 and XII. 10. 
65 (the latter passage alluding to the famous saying of Aristo- 
phanes about the "flashing and thundering" Pericles, 
Acharnians 531); also by Cicero and others. 

* Sidonius plays on the word Tacitus ("silent"); cf. 23. 
154, Epist. IV. 22. 2. 



His hunc formatum studiis, natalibus ortum, 
moribus imbutum princeps cui mundiis ab Euro 
ad Zeph3rrum tunc sceptra dabat, cui nubilis atque 
unica purpureos debebat nata nepotes, 196 

elegit generum ; sed non ut deside luxu 
fortuna soceri contentus et otia captans 
nil sibi deberet ; comitis sed iure recepto 
Danuvii ripas et tractum limitis ampli 200 

circuit, hortatur, disponit, discutit, armat. 
sic sub patre Pius moderatus castra parentis, 
sic Marcus vivente Pio, post iura daturi, 
innumerabilibus legionibus imperitabant. 
hinc reduci datur omnis honos, et utrique magister 
militiae consulque micat, coniuncta potestas 206 

patricii, celerique gradu privata cucurrit 
culmina conscenditque senum puer ipse curulem, 
sedit et emerito iuvenis veteranus in aiiro. 

lamque parens divos : sed vobis nulla cupido 210 
imperii ; longam diademata passa repulsam 

205. honos edit. Greg, et Collomh. : honor. 

1 Marcian, Emperor of the East, 450-57. 

2 Aelia Marcia Euphemia. 

^ He received the dignity of a comes rei militaris, a frequent 
stepping-stone to a magisterium militum, as in the present case. 

* History does not record any military service on the part 
of Marcus Aurelius before the death of Antoninus Pius. 

' A gilded curule chair was used by the Emperors on cere- 
monial occasions, but there is no evidence that gold ornamenta- 
tion was allowed on other sdlae curules. It was, however, at 
this time allowed on the sellae gestatoriae of consuls (see E'pist. 
VIII. 8. 3), and Sidonius may be referring to this. 

• i.e. his father-in-law Marcian : divos : cf. v. 318. It is 
odd to find the Christian Sidonius writing thus; but literary 
tradition is far more potent than reHgion in his poetry. 



By such studies was he moulded, from such lineage 
sprung, in such habits nui-tured ; and the prince ^ to 
whom at that time the world from east to west was 
giving the sceptre, on whom an only daughter ,2 now 
of age for wedlock, must needs bestow grandchildren 
that should wear the purple, chose this man for her 
husband. Yet he did not rest in slothful luxury, 
content with her father's glory, seeking a life of 
ease and owing nothing to himself; nay, receiving 
a count's authority ^ he traversed the Danube bank 
and the whole length of the great frontier-lines, 
exhorting, arranging, examining, equipping. Even 
so had Pius under his father's sway ruled his father's 
camps ; thus Marcus, too, while Pius still lived * ; 
these two, destined later to be lawgivers, then 
conmianded legions innumerable. When Anthemius 
returned, every office was bestowed upon him ; he 
shone upon the world as Master of Both Services 
and as consul ; to this was added the authority of 
Patrician ; and thus with speedy step he ran through 
the highest dignities that a subject may reach; 
youth though he was, he mounted the curule throne 
of the elders, and sat, a young veteran, on the gold ^ 
that belongs to the old campaigner. 

And now thy father ^ was numbered with the gods ; 
but thou hadst no craving for empire ; the diadem 
after a long rejection chose out an illustrious man,^ 

' Leo I occupied a comparatively humble position (he was a 
tribumis militum, with the rank of count) when he was suddenly 
promoted to the Imperial throne at the age of nearly 60. 
The words loiigam passa repulsam cannot refer to the very 
short interval between the death of Marcian and the acces- 
sion of Leo ; they state (with what truth we cannot say) that 
Anthemius had persistently declined the offer of Marcian to 
designate him as his successor. 



insignem legere virum, quern deinde legentem 

spernere non posses : soli tibi contulit uni 

hoc Fortuna decus, quamquam te posceret ordo, 

ut lectus princeps mage quam videare relictus. 215 

post socerum Augustum regnas, sed non tibi venit 

purpura per thalamos, et coniunx regia regno 

laus potius quam causa fuit ; nam iuris habenis 

non generum legit respublica, sed generosum. 

fallor, bis gemino nisi cardine rem probat orbis : 220 

ambit te Zephyrus rectorem, destinat Eurus, 

ad Boream pugnas et formidaris ad Austrum. 

Ante tamen quam te socium collega crearet, 
perstrinxisse libet quos Illyris ora triumphos 
viderit, excisam quae se Valameris ab armis 225 

forte ducis nostri vitio deserta gemebat. 
baud aliter, caesus quondam cum Caepio robiu* 
dedidit Ausonium, subita cogente ruina 
electura ducem post guttura fracta lugurthae 
ultum Arpinatem Calpurnia foedera lixam "^ 230 

opposuit rabido respublica territa Cimbro. 

^ Bury (I. 314) wrongly takes ordo to mean the Senate. 

2 Illyricum ; for its extent see Hodgkin I. 295. The name 
of the unworthy dux is unknown. Some have absurdly tried 
to identify him with Arnegisclus, magister militum per Thracias, 
who died fighting bravely against Attila in a.d. 447. After 
the break-up of the Hunnish dominion in a.d. 454 the Ostro- 
goths were allowed by Marcian to settle in Pannonia. Some 
years later, when Leo had refused to pay the subsidy which 
Marcian had granted them, they overran and devastated lUyri- 
cum. It was obviously one of these raids that Anthemius 
checked, but no other writer mentions the episode. Sidonius 
is likewise the sole authority for the campaign against 
Hormidac {w. 236 sqq.) 

' Walamir was one of the three Ostrogoth kings. 

* Caepio, defeated with great slaughter by the Cimbrians 
at Arausio (Orange), 105 B.C. 



one whom thou coiildst not slight when he in his 
turn chose thee. Fortune hath given thee this 
unique honour, that although the order of succession 
demanded thee, ^ thou art looked on as a prince chosen, 
not as a prince by inheritance. Thou reignest after 
an Augustus who was thy wife's father, but the 
purple came not to thee by thy marriage ; thy royal 
bride hath been rather the glory of thy royalty than 
its cause, for when the commonwealth chose thee to 
\vield the reins of state it was for thy kingly soul, 
not for thy kin. My judgment errs if the four 
quarters of the earth do not approve the choice ; the 
West seeks thee, the East sends thee, as ruler ; 
thou fightest in the North and art feared in the 

But I would fain touch on the triumphs that the 
Illyrian region ^ beheld before thy colleague made 
thee his partner, when that land, deserted, as it 
chanced, through a Roman leader's fault, was be- 
moaning its devastation by the arms of Walamir.^ 
Even so was it in former days when Caepio's * slaughter 
had given up Ausonia's best warriors to the enemy ; 
the terrified commonwealth, compelled by that 
crashing blow, essayed to choose a leader; 'twas 
after the strangling of Jugurtha, and they set 
against the frenzied Cimbrian the batman^ from 
Arpinum who had avenged Calpurnius' treaty.® 

^ Ancient writers are fond of exaggerating the lowly origin 
of Gains Marius. Lixa properly means " camp-sutler," but 
in later Latin we sometimes find lixae used where calones would 
be more correct. The calones were slave-attendants of officers 
or soldiers. 

• The treaty made with Jugurtha in 111 B.C. by Calpurnius 
Bestia and Aemilius Scaurus, who had been bribed by the 



hie primum ut vestras aquilas provincia vidit, 
desiit hostiles confestim horrere dracones. 
ilicet edomiti bello praedaque cardites 
mox ipsi tua praeda iacent. 

Sed omittimus istos 235 
ut populatores : belli magis acta revolvo ; 
quod bellum non parva manus nee carcere fracto 
ad gladiaturam tu Spartace vincte parasti/ 
sed Scythicae vaga turba plagae, feritatis abundans, 
dira, rapax, vehemens,ipsis quoque gentibus illic 
barbara barbaricis, cuius dux Hormidac atque 241 
civis erat. quis tale solum est moresque genusque : 

Albus H3rperboreis Tanais qua vallibus actus 
Riphaea de caute cadit, iacet axe sub Vrsae 
gens animis membrisque minax : ita vultibus ipsis 245 
infantum suus hon-or inest. consurgit in artum 
massa rotunda caput ; geminis sub fronte cavernis 
visus adest oculis absentibus ; acta cerebri 
in cameram vix ad refugos lux pervenit orbes, 
non tamen et clausos ; nam fornice non spatioso 250 
magna vident spatia, et maioris luminis usum 

242, moresque Mohr : murique. 
246. atrum C. 

^ The typically Roman " eagle " (the traditional legionary 
standard) is contrasted with the " dragons " of the " bar- 
barians." But the use of dragon -ensigns had found its way 
into the Roman army long before, and it is possible that by 
this time they had entirely supplanted the ordinary standard. 
For a description of them see 5. 402. It seems probable that 
the " eagle " belonged only to the full legion of 6,000 men, 
and not to the smaller units which were now dignified with 
the title of legio. See Grosse, Rom. Militdrgeschichte, pp. 

" axe siib Vrsae. " The Huns came originally from the 



Thereupon the province, beholding thine eagles,^ 
ceased of a sudden to shudder at the dragons of the 
foe. Straightway crushed in war and reft of their 
spoil they in their turn were spoils for thee, lying 
prostrate at thy feet. 

But such folk I pass by as mere raiders ; rather do 
I now relate the exploits of a real war ; which war 
no small band contrived, no Spartacus, bondsman 
destined for the gladiator's work, who had burst open 
his prison, but a roaming multitude from Scythian 
clime, teeming with savagery, frightful, ravening, 
violent, barbarous even in the eyes of the barbarian 
peoples around them, a race whose leader was 
Hormidac, a man of their own nation. Their land, 
their habits and their origin were after this manner. 
Where the white Tanais, driven down through the 
valleys of the far north, falls from the Riphaean 
crags, in the region of the Bear ,2 there dwells a 
race with menace in heart and limbs 2; for truly 
the very faces of their infants have a gruesomeness 
all their own. Their heads are great round masses 
rising to a narrow crown ; in two hollows beneath the 
brow resides their sight, but the eyes are far to seek ; 
the light, as it forces its way into the arched recesses 
in the skull,* can scarce reach those retreating orbs 
— ^retreating, but not shut; for from that vault of 
narrow space they enjoy a spacious vision, and pel- 
East, but it was from the North that they drove the Goths 
down on the Romans." L. C. Purser. . 

r ' For other descriptions of the Huns see Claud. Rufin. l\ 
(323-31 (imitated here), Amm. Marc. XXXI. 2. 1-11, Jordan./ 
\Get. 24 and (on AttUa) 35. '' 

* cameram, one of the two cavernae (247 ) . Cameras (or orbem 
for orbes) would have been clearer. It seems best to make 
both nouns plural in the translation. 



perspicua in puteis compensant puncta profundis. 

turn, ne per malas excrescat fistula duplex, 

obtundit teneras circumdata fascia nares, 

ut galeis cedant : sic propter proelia natos 255 

maternus deformat amor, quia tensa genarum 

non interiecto fit latior area naso. 

cetera pars est pulchra viris : stant pectora vasta, 

insignes umeri, succincta sub ilibus alvus. 

forma quidem pediti miedia est, procera sed exstat 260 

si cernas equites : sic longi saepe putantur 

si sedeant. vix matre carens ut constitit infans, 

mox praebet dorsum sonipes ; cognata reare 

membra viris : ita semper equo ceu fixus adhaeret 

rector ; cornipedum tergo gens altera fertur, 265 

haec habitat, teretes arcus et spicula cordi, 

terribiles certaeque manus iaculisque ferendae 

mortis fixa fides et non peccante sub ictu 

edoctus peccare furor, gens ista repente 

erumpens solidumque rotis transvecta per Histrum 270 

venerat et siccas inciderat orbita lymphas. 

hanc tu directus per Dacica rura vagantem 

contra is, aggrederis, superas, includis ; et ut te 

metato spatio castrorum Serdica vidit, 

obsidione premis. quae te sic tempore multo 275 

271. siccas Mohr : sectas codd. : strictas Rossberg, tectas 

^ Or perhaps "a larger eye." Perspicua is possibly used 
metri gratia for perspicacia, " clear-sighted " ; but I have not 
found any parallel for such a use. 

2 i.e. the nostrils. 

* The paradoxical description of frozen rivers, etc. as " dry " 
or " soUd " water is common in the Latin poets : cf. 6. 612, 7. 
150. The notion of wheels traversing the water is derived 
from Virgil {Georg. III. 360 sq.), and is worked to death by 
the post-Augustans. Cf. 6. 519; similarly of riders, 7. 43. 



lucid pin-points in those sunken wells give all the 
service that an ampler light ^ could bring. Moreover, 
the nostrils, while still soft, are blunted by an 
encircling band, to prevent the two passages ^ from 
growing outward between the cheek-bones, that 
thus they may make room for the helmets ; for those 
children are born for battles, and a mother's love 
disfigures them, because the area of the cheeks 
stretches and expands when the nose does not 
intervene. The rest of the men's bodies is comely ; 
chest large and firm, fine shoulders, compact stomach 
beneath the flanks. On foot their stature is mid- 
dling, but it towers aloft if you view them on horse- 
back: thus are they often deemed long of frame 
when seated. Scarce has the infant learnt to stand 
without his mother's aid when a horse takes him on 
his back. You would think the limbs of man and 
beast were born together, so firmly does the rider 
always stick to the horse, just as if he were fastened 
to his place : any other folk is carried on horseback, 
this folk lives there. Shapely bows and arrows are 
their delight, sure and terrible are their hands; 
firm is their confidence that their missiles will bring 
death, and their frenzy is trained to do wrongful 
deeds with blows that never go \vrong. This people 
had burst forth in a sudden invasion ; they had come, 
crossing with wheels the solid Danube, marking 
the moistureless waters with ruts.^ Straight against 
them didst thou go, as they roamed through the 
Dacian fields ; thou didst attack and vanquish and 
hem them in ; and soon as Serdica * beheld thee with 
thine encampment laid out, thou didst straitly besiege 
them. The town marvelled at thee as thou didst 

* Serdica. Near the modern Sofia. 



in vallo positum stupuit, quod miles in agros 

nee licitis nee furtivis excursibus ibat. 

cui deesset cum saepe Ceres semperque Lyaeus, 

disciplina tamen non defuit ; inde propinquo 

hoste magis timuere ducem, sic denique factum est 

ut socius tum forte tuus, mox proditor, illis 281 

frustra terga daret commissae tempore pugnae. 

qui iam cum fugeret flexo pede cornua nudans, 

tu stabas acies solus, te sparsa fugaci 

expetiit ductore manus, te Marte pedestri 285 

sudantem repetebat eques, tua signa secutus 

non se desertum sensit certamine miles. 

I nunc et veteris profer praeconia Tulli, 
aetas cana patrum, quod pulchro hortamine mendax 
occuluit refugi nutantia foedera Metti ! 290 

nil simile est fallique tuum tibi non placet hostem. 
tunc vicit miles, dum se putat esse iuvandum : 
hie vicit postquam se comperit esse relictum. 
dux fugit : insequeris ; renovat certamina : vincis ; 
clauditur : expugnas ; elabitur : obruis atque 295 

Sarmaticae paci pretium sua funera ponis. 
paretur ; iussum subiit iam transfuga letum 
atque peregrino cecidit tua victima ferro. 
ecce iterum, si forte placet, conflige, vetustas ! 

^ See Livy I. 27 f. 3Ietti may be gen. sing, of Mettius 
(the usual form^ or of Mettus (Verg. Aen. VIII. 642). 

^ It seems clear from v. 297 that the dux here mentioned is 
the deserter. Sua in v. 296 is equal to eius, as often in Sidonius. 

' Sarm., i.e. with the Hunnish forces. 



tarry thus for long within the rampart, because thy 
soldiers went not forth into the fields in regular or 
stealthy raids. Though oft they lacked corn and 
always >vine, they lacked not discipline ; hence 
though the foe was nigh they feared their general 
more. So at length it came to pass that he who 
chanced to be thine ally then but straightway 
played thee false gained nothing when he retreated 
before the foe at the first onset ; for when he had 
begun to flee, turning aside and laying bare the 
wings, thou didst stand thy ground, a host in thyself; 
to thee did those warriors rally whom their captain's 
flight had scattered, back to thee came the cavalry 
as thou didst toil and sweat, fighting on foot ; and 
following thy standards the soldiers felt that they 
were not deserted in the fray. 

Go to now, ancient generation of our fathers! 
Proclaim, if ye will, the praises of old Tullus, for 
that he lied in a noble exhortation and concealed the 
collapse of the treaty with the deserter Mettus ! ^ 
There is nothing like that here ; thou, Anthemius, 
wouldst not choose to have even thine enemy 
misled. Those old-time soldiers conquered in the 
belief that they would be aided ; but these conquered 
in the knowledge that they were deserted. The 
captain ^ flees ; thou dost pursue ; he renews the 
fray ; thou conquerest ; he shuts himself in ; thou 
dost storm his entrenchment ; he slips away ; thou 
dost overwhelm him, and dost demand his life as the 
price of peace with the Sarmatians.^ Thy will is 
done, and straightway the deserter has suffered the 
death decreed and has fallen — thy victim, though 
slain by a foreign sword. Come now. Antiquity! 
Enter the contest once more, if it please thee ! 



Hannibal ille ferox ad poenam forte petitus, 300 

etsi non habuit ius vitae fine supremo, 

certe habuit mortis : quem caecus career et uncus 

et quem exspectabat fracturus guttura lictor, 

hausit Bebrycio constantior hospite virus ; 

nam te qui fugit, mandata morte peremptus, 305 

non tam victoris periit quam iudicis ore. 

Nunc ades, o Paean, lauro cui grypas obuncos 
docta lupata ligant quotiens per frondea lora 
flectis penniferos hederis bicoloribus armos ; 
hue converte chelyn : non est modo dicere tempus 
Pythona exstinctum nee bis septena sonare 311 

vulnera Tantalidum, quorum tibi funera servat 
cantus et aeterno vivunt in carmine mortes. 
vos quoque, Castalides, paucis, quo numine nobis 
venerit Anthemius gemini cum foedere regni, 315 
pandite : pax rerum misit qui bella gubernet. 

Auxerat Augustus naturae lege Severus 
divorum numerum. quem mox Oenotria casum 
vidit ut aerei de rupibus Appennini, 
pergit caerulei vitreas ad Thybridis aedes, 320 

non galea conclusa genas (nee sutilis illi 

^ Forte, "as it so happened," is sometimes little more 
than "padding." Servius alleges that Virgil has so used it 
in two places; the allegation would be truer of Sidonius. 
I have translated it where possible. 

'^ Prusias of Bithynia. Hannibal took poison to avoid 
falling into the hands of the Romans, when Prusias sought to 
betray him. 

3 Nam = " but," as in several other places. The use is 
common in late Latin, and its germ can be found in Cicero. 
See Schmalz-Hofmann, Synt., p. 679. 

* Modo, "now," as often in these poems. 

^ For the varying accounts of the number of Niobe's 
children see the note in Sir J. G. Frazer's trans, of ApoUodorus 
in this series, Vol. I, p. 340. 



Wlien the surrender of the bold Hannibal was claimed 
by those that would punish him,^ though in that last 
hour he had not power to live, yet had he power to 
determine his death ; and so, when the dark dungeon 
awaited him, and the iron hook, and the lictor ap- 
pointed to break the prisoner's neck, he swallowed 
the poison, a stauncher man than his Bithynian 
host 2; but 3 the man that deserted thee was cut off 
by a death that had been commanded, and it was 
a judge's rather than a victor's lips that sealed his 

Now grant thy presence. Paean Apollo, whose 
hook-beaked gryphons the well-schooled curb doth 
constrain with its bond of laurel, whensoever thou 
wieldest thy leafy reins and guidest their winged 
shoulders with double-hued ivy! Hither direct thy 
lyre! It is not now* the time to sing of Python's 
destruction or to hymn the twice seven wounds of 
the Niobids^ — victims whose dooms are preserved 
to thine honour in song, so that their deaths live in 
deathless poesy. Ye Muses, likewise, reveal in 
brief words by what divine power Anthemius came to 
us with a covenant made by the two realms ; an 
empire's peace hath sent him to conduct our wars. 

By nature's law Severus had been added to the 
ranks of the gods.^ Oenotria,'^ when from the crags 
of towering Apennine she beheld this calamity, hied 
her to the glassy abode of blue Tiber. She had not 
encased her cheeks in a helmet (and she wore no 

• Libius Severus was Emperor from 19th Nov., a.d. 461, to 
15th Aug., 465. Some said that he was murdered by Ricimer, 
and naturae lege may be meant as an emphatic denial of this 
(probably unfounded) allegation. See Hodgkin, II. 432. 

' Oenotria, old and poetical name for Italy, here treated as 
a goddess. 



circulus inpactis loricam texuit hamis), 
sed nudata caput ; pro crine racemifer exit 
plurima per frontem constringens oppida palmes, 
perque umeros teretes, rutilantes perque lacertos 325 
pendula gemmiferae mordebant suppara bullae, 
segnior incedit senio venerandaque membra 
viticomam retinens baculi vice flectit ad ulmum. 
sed tamen Vbertas sequitur : quacumque propinquat, 
incessu fecundat iter ; comitataque gressum 330 

laeta per impress as rorat Vindemia plantas. 
I licet ingreditur Tiberini gurgitis antrum, 
currebat fluvius residens et harundinis altae 
concolor in viridi fluitabat silva capillo ; 
dat sonitum mento unda cadens, licet hispida saetis 
suppositis multum sedaret barba fragorem ; 336 

pectore ructabat latices lapsuque citato 
sulcabat madidam iam torrens alveus alvum. 
terretur veniente dea manibusque remissis 
remus et urna cadunt. veniae tum verba paranti 340 
ilia prior : " venio viduatam praesule nostro 
per te, si placeat, lacrimis inflectere Romam : 
expetat Aurorae partes fastuque remoto 
hoc unum praestet, iam plus dignetur amari. 
instrue quas quaerat vires orbique iacenti 345 

^ She wore a crown of towers, representing in this case the 
Italian towns. The goddess Roma also has a towered crown 
(v. 392). 

^ The meaning "straightway" may be intended, but 
it does not quite suit the previous paragraph. Sidonius has 
a peculiar use of ilicet, found in 15. 42 and in at least nine of the 
ten passages where it occurs in the Epistles. There it is 
a particle of transition, with the force of "so," "so then," 
"well," sometimes "in short." For a discussion of the 
subject see Mohr's pamphlet, Zu Apollinaris Sidonius, Bremer- 
haven 1886. The meaning "straightway " will serve in most 
passages of the Poems where the word occurs. 



hauberk fashioned with stitched rings of tight- 
driven hooks), but bared was her head. Instead of 
hair there overran her forehead a vine-branch with 
clustered grapes, binding fast her many towns ,^ and 
along her shapely shoulders and radiant arms 
jewelled brooches gripped her flowing robe. The 
slowness of old age was in her gait, and she held as 
a staff an elm covered with vine-foliage, and guided 
her venerable limbs thereby. Yet Abundance 
attended her; wherever she drew nigh, with her 
coming she spread fruitfulness over her path, and 
Vintage, accompanying her steps, joyfully made the 
juice rise wherever her feet trod. 

So 2 she entered the cave of Tiber's stream. 
There sat the running river.^ On his green hair 
drifted a like-hued clump of tall reeds. The 
water sounded as it fell from his chin, though a 
beard of shaggy bristles underneath did much to 
dull the roar. From his breast he threw out 
streams, and falling more rapidly the flood now 
furious furrowed his soaking stomach. As the god- 
dess drew nigh fear seized him; his hands relaxed, 
and the urn and the oar fell from them. He was 
devising words of excuse when she broke in: "I 
come that through thee, if it please thee, I may sway 
by my tears Rome, now bereft of our ruler. I would 
have her turn to the region of Dawn ; let her put her 
disdain aside and by granting this one thing deserve 
even greater love. Teach her what strength she 
must enlist, and tell her in what world she must crave 

• A feeble paradox, somewhat toned down in the translation. 
The river-god is identified with the river in currebat and distin- 
guished from it in residens. 



quo poscat die orbe caput, quemcumque creavit 
axe meo natum, eonfestim fregit in illo 
imperii Fortuna rotas, hinc Vandalus hostis 
urget et in nostrum numerosa classe quotannis 
militat excidium, conversoque ordine fati 350 

torrida Caucaseos infert mihi Byrsa furores, 
praeterea invietus Ricimer, quem publica fata 
respiciunt, proprio solus vix Marte repellit 
piratam per rura vagum, qui proelia vitans 
victorem fugitivus agit. quis sufFerat hostem 355 
qui paeem pugnamque negat ? nam foedera nulla 
cum Ricimere iacit. quem cur nimis oderit audi, 
incertum crepat ille patrem, cum serva sit illi 
cert a parens ; nunc, ut regis sit filius, effert 
matris adulterium. turn livet quod Ricimerem 360 
in regnum duo regna vocant ; nam patre Suebus, 
a genetrice Getes. simul et reminiscitur illud, 
quod Tartesiacis avus huius Vallia terris 
Vandalicas turmas et iuncti Martis Halanos 
stravit et occiduam texere cadavera Calpen. 365 

quid veteres narrare fugas, quid damna priorum? 

^ Geiseric took Carthage in a.d. 439 and made it his capital. 
Byrsa is properly the citadel of Carthage. The epithet 
CaiLcaseos is very loose; the Vandals had not come from the 
region of the Caucasus, though the Alans, who were now subjects 
of the Vandal king, had done so. 

2 piratam : cf. v. 17. Geiseric was an incorrigible pirate, 
even when he was not actually at war. It was an attack by 
him on the Peloponnese that finally induced Leo to concert 
a gigantic ofEensive of East and West against him and to make 
Anthemius Emperor of the West. Shortly before this (461- 
465) Geiseric had made a series of devastating descents upon 
Italy and Sicily. The joint expedition, of which Sidonius speaks 
so hopefuUy, came to a disastrous end in a.d. 468, owing 
mainly to the incompetence of the commander-in-chief^ 



a head for her own stricken world. Whenever 
Fortune hath chosen a man born in my cHme, she 
hath instantly broken the wheels of his empire. On 
this side the Vandal foe presses hard; and every 
year he wars with multitudinous navy to destroy us ; 
the natural order hath been reversed, and now parched 
Byrsa launches against me the frenzy of the Cauca- 
sus.^ Yea more, unconquerable Ricimer, to whom 
the destiny of our nation looks for safety, doth 
barely drive back with his own unaided force the 
pirate 2 that ranges over our lands, that ever avoids 
battles and plays a conqueror's part by flight. Who 
could brook an enemy that refuses both concord and 
combat.'^ For never does he make a treaty with 
Ricimer. Hear now why he hates our leader with 
such exceeding hate.^ His father is unknown, yet 
he prates ever of him, since 'tis well known his mother 
was a slave-woman.* So now, to make himself out 
a king's son, he proclaims his mother's shame. He 
is jealous also because two kingdoms call Ricimer to 
kingly power, Suevian as he is on the father's side,^ 
Gothic on the mother's. He likewise remembers 
this, that W^allia,^ grandsire of Ricimer, laid low on 
Spanish soil the Vandal squadrons and the Alans, 
their comrades in the war, and their corpses covered 
Calpe in the far west. But why tell of ancient routs, 
of the losses of bygone generations ? Nay, he calls 

' Geiseric's feud with Ricimer was not due merely to the 
causes mentioned here. See Hodgkin, II. 434 f. 

* Geiseric's father was Godigiselas, a king of the Asding 

' Ricimer' s father was a Suevian chief. 

' The Visigoth WaUia, father of Ricimer's mother, an- 
nihilated the Siling Vandals in Spain and crushed their allies 
the Alans, the remnant of whom took refuge with the Asding 
Vandals in Gallaecia (a.d. 416-418). See Introd., p. xi. 



Agrigentini recolit dispendia campi. 
inde furit, quod se docuit satis iste nepotem 
illius esse viri quo viso, Vandale, semper 
terga dabas. nam non Siculis inlustrior arvis 370 
tu, Marcelle, redis, per quem tellure marique 
nostra Syracusios presserunt arma penates ; 
nee tu cui currum Curii superare, Metelle, 
contigit, ostentans nobis elephanta frequentem, 
grex niger albentes tegeret cum mole iugales 375 
auctoremque suum celaret pompa triumphi. 
Noricus Ostrogothum quod continet, iste timetur ; 
Gallia quod Rheni Martem ligat, iste pavori est ; 
quod consanguineo me Vandalus hostis Halano 
diripuit radente, suis hie ultus ab armis. 380 

sed tamen unus homo est nee tanta pericula solus 
tollere, sed differe potest : modo principe nobis 
est opus armato, veterum qui more parentum 
non mandet sed bella gerat, quem signa moventem 
terra vel unda tremant, ut tandem iure recepto 385 
Romula desuetas moderentur classica classes." 

Audiit ilia pater, simul annuit, itur in urbem. 
continuo videt ipse deam, summissus adorat, 
pectus et exsertam tetigerunt cornua mammam ; 

382. sed : si Buecheler. 

^ Ricimer with his fleet frustrated an attempted raid by 
Geiseric on Agrigentum and afterwards defeated him in 
Corsican waters, a.d. 456. See Introd., p. xxi ; Bury, I. 327. 

2 Marcellus, the capturer of Syracuse (212 B.C.). 

^ Manius Curius Dentatus, conqueror of Pyrrhus (275 B.C.), 
had four elephants at his triumph (Eutrop. II. 14) ; L. CaeciUus 



to mind the havoc of Agrigentum's plain.^ Madly 
he rages because his adversary has amply proved 
himself the grandchild of that hero at sight of whom 
the Vandal did ever turn in flight. No whit more 
glorious didst thou, Marcellus,^ return from Sicilian 
lands, thou through whom our arms did beset the 
homes of Syracuse by land and sea ; or thou, Metellus, 
whose fortune it was to outdo the triumph of Curius,^ 
when thou didst display to us a throng of elephants, 
and the dusky herd screened the white chariot-steeds 
with their mighty bulk, and the triumphal parade 
hid the winner of the triumph. If the Norican is 
restraining the Ostrogoth, it is that Ricimer is feared ; 
if Gaul ties down the armed might of the Rhine, it 
is he that inspires the dread ; and because the Vandal 
foe plundered me while the Alan, his kinsman, 
swept off what remained, this man took vengeance by 
the force of his own arms. But he is only one man ; 
alone he cannot remove these perils, but only delay 
their day ; we need now an armed prince who in the 
manner of our sires shall not order wars but wage 
them,* one before whom land and sea shall quake 
when he advances his standards, so that at last with 
power regained the Roman war-trump may direct 
Rome's dormant navies." 

Father Tiber heard and heeded. To the city he 
went and straightway with his own eyes beheld the 
goddess, and bowed in humble adoration, so that his 
horns touched her breast and her uncovered bosom. 

Metellus had many (authorities differ as to the number) when 
he triumphed after defeating the Carthaginians at Panormus 
(250 B.C.). 

* This anticipation was not fulfilled. Anthemius did not 
personally take part in the great expedition against Greiserio. 



mandatas fert inde preces ; quas diva secuta 390 
apparat ire viam. laxatos torva capillos 
stringit et inclusae latuerunt casside turres ; 
infula laurus erat. bullis hostilibus asper 
applicat a laeva surgentem balteus ensem. 
inseritur clipeo victrix manus ; illius orbem 395 

Martigenae, lupa, Thybris, Amor, Mars, Ilia 

fibula mordaci refugas a pectore vestes 
dente capit. micat hasta minax, quercusque tropaeis 
curva tremit placitoque deam sub fasce fatigat. 
perpetuo stat planta solo, sed fascia primos 400 

sistitur ad digitos, retinacula bina cothurnis 
mittit in adversum vincto de fomite pollex, 
quae stringant crepidas et concun'entibus ansis 
vinclorum pandas texant per crura catenas, 
ergo sicut erat liquidam transvecta per aethram 405 
nascentis petiit tepidos Hyperionis ortus. 

Est locus Oceani, longinquis proximus Indis, 
axe sub Eoo, Nabataeum tensus in Eurum : 
ver ibi continuum est, interpellata nee ullis 

399. placitoque Drakenborch : placidoque codd., def. 

^ fascia (= confining band) is evidently applied here to 
the sole of the sandal: cf Epist. VIII. 11. 3, carm. v. 13, 
fasceata. It cannot mean a fascia pedulis, which did not 
come near the front of the foot. The meaning is that the 
leather of the sole is not continued upwards over the toes to 
form uppers. Two thongs encircle the great toe and are 
passed cross -wise through large leather loops, which are 
attached to the sole and form a network on both sides of the 
foot when the laces have drawn them tight. After passing 
through the last pair of loops these shoe-strings were passed 
round the leg and fastened. The vincla are the laces, and 



Then he delivered his message of entreaty, and the 
goddess, compHant, made ready for the journey. 
Stern was her look as she bound up her flowing hair ; 
then she shut in her towers and hid them under a 
helmet ; laurel formed her fillet. Her belt, rough 
with shield-studs taken from enemies, made fast a 
sword, which rose high on her left side. Her con- 
quering arm was thrust into a shield, whose orb was 
filled with the twin sons of Mars, with the wolf and 
Tiber and Love and Mars and Ilia. A clasp fixes with 
gripping tooth the raiment that retreats back from her 
breast. Her threatening spear flashes, and an oak 
bowed down with trophies sways and tires the goddess 
under its welcome burden. The covering of her sole 
is of one piece, ^ but this strip is not carried beyond 
the tips of the toes ; the great toe sends two strings 
upward from its encircled socket in opposite direc- 
tions, so that they bind the sandal tight and, with the 
side-loops drawn together, weave a curving mesh of 
ties up the leg. In this guise, then, she was wafted 
through the clear bright air, seeking the warm 
rising-place of the nascent sun. 

There is a region by Ocean's shore, nigh to the 
distant Indians, under the eastern sky, stretching 
towards the Nabataean ^ wind. Perpetual spring is 
there, the ground is not made pale by any invading 

V. 404 seems to refer to the pattern which they and the con- 
verging loops make along the instep rather than to the whole 
network of thongs which, as explained above, covered both 
sides of the foot. It is unfortunate that Sidonius uses both 
cothurmis and crepida for the same thing ; the latter is by far 
the more appropriate word. 

« i.e. eastern; cf. Ovid 3Iet. I. 61; Lucan IV. 63. The 
Nabataei were a people of Arabia Petraea. In 5. 284 the second 
vowel of Nabataeus is long. 



frigoribus pallescit humus, sed flore perenni 410 

picta peregrines ignorant arva rigores ; 

halant rura rosis, indiscriptosque per agros 

fragrat odor ; violam, cytisum, serpylla, ligustrum, 

lilia, narcissos, casiam, colocasia, caltas, 

costum, malobathrum, myrrhas, opobalsama, tura 415 

parturiunt campi ; nee non pulsante senecta 

hinc rediviva petit vicinus cinnama Phoenix. 

hie domus Aurorae rutilo crustante metallo 

bacarum praefert leves asprata lapillos. 

diripiunt diversa oculos et ab arte magistra 420 

hoc vincit, quodcumque vides ; sed conditur omnis 

sub domina praesente decor, nimioque rubore 

gemmarum varios perdit quia possidet ignes. 

fundebat coma pexa crocos flexoque lacerto 

lutea depressus comebat tempora pecten. 425 

fundebant oculi radios ; color igneus iUis, 

non tamen ardor erat, quamvis de nocte recussa 

excepti soleant sudorem fingere rores. 

pectora bis cingunt zonae, parvisque papillis 

invidiam facit ipse sinus ; pars extima pepli 430 

perfert puniceas ad crura rubentia rugas. 

412. indiscTiptosque Mohr et Luetjohann: indescriptosque. 

413. fragrat F, flagrat CPT. 

^ The phoenix gathers all kinds of fragrant herbs to be 
burnt with him on his " hfe-giving pyre " (Lactant. Phoen. 90). 
In this connexion Sidonius never fails to mention cinnamon ; 
see 7. 353, 9. 325, 11. 125, 22. 50; cf. Lactant. Phoen. 83. 

* Here dawn and the goddess of dawn are mixed up, 
like the Tiber and the Tiber-god in v. 333. The dew of dawn 
looks like sweat, but is not sweat; for the rays of Dawn 



seasons of cold; the fields bedizened with ever- 
blooming flowers know not the frosts of strange 
lands. The countryside is fragrant with roses, and 
throughout those unowned and undivided fields a 
sweet aroma breathes. The plains ever bring forth 
violets, clover, thyme, privet, lilies, narcissus, casia, 
culcas, marigold, costum, malobathrum, myrrh, 
balm, frankincense. Yea, when old age knocks at 
his door, the phoenix that dwells hard by seeks from 
hence the cinnamon that brings a new life.^ Here 
the home of Aurora, overlaid with plates of flashing 
gold, displays withal smooth pearls on its broken 
surface. On all sides are things to capture the gaze, 
and, thanks to their masterly artistry, whatsoever 
meets the eye seems to surpass the rest. But all that 
beauty is dimmed in the presence of its mistress, 
who with her blushing radiance destroys the diverse 
fires of the gems, because she has fires of her own. 
Her combed hair poured forth saffron hues ; her arm 
was bent as the comb sank in and arranged the 
yellow tresses on her temples. Her eyes poured 
forth rays ; fiery their hue, but the heat of fire was 
not there, although when night is shaken off the 
dews received from it are wont to have a semblance 
of sweat.2 Her bosom was girdled by a double 
band, and even the fold in her robe mocked the 
smallness of her breasts.^ The lower part of the dress 
extended its crimson folds down to her rosy knees. 

(Aurora), which are diffused from her eyes, have no heat 
in their fiery glow: morning receives its dew from the de- 
parting night, not from the dawn. 

' The meaning is not clear. Possibly " made her small 
breasts envious," though invidiam facere regularly means " to 
bring reproach upon." 



sic regina sedet solio ; sceptri vice dextram 
lampadis hasta replet ; Nox adstat proxima divae, 
iam refugos conversa pedes, ac pone tribunal 
promit Lux summum vix intellecta cacumen. 435 
hinc Romam liquido venientem tramite cernens 
exsiluit propere et blandis prior orsa loquellis 
" quid, caput o mundi," dixit, " mea regna revisis ? 
quidve iubes ? " paulum ilia silens atque aspera 

mitibus haec coepit : " venio (desist e moveri 440 
nee multum trepida), non ut mihi pressus Araxes 
imposito sub ponte fluat nee ut ordine prisco 
Indicus Ausonia potetur casside Ganges, 
aut ut tigriferi pharetrata per arva Niphatis 
depopuletur ovans Artaxata Caspia consul. 445 

non Fori modo regna precor nee ut hisce lacertis 
frangat Hydaspeas aries inpactus Erythras. 
non in Bactra feror nee committentia pugnas 
nostra Semiramiae rident ad classica portae. 
Arsacias non quaero domus nee tessera castris 450 
in Ctesiphonta datur. totum hunc tibi cessimus 

axem : 

446. Pori Sirmondus : phari(i). 

^ Rome asserts that she has not come to reclaim her old 
eastern conquests. 

2 Araxes, in Armenia. Augustus is said to have built a 
bridge over it. Cf. Verg. Aen. VIII. 728. 

^ The Romans had never conquered any part of India. But 
here and in vv. 446 f. Rome may merely be indicating that 
she does not intend to emulate Alexander the Great. 

* Erythraeus is often used by poets for Indian (from the 
mare Erythraeum, which, in the largest sense of the term, 
extended to the coast of India). Sidonius seems to have 
invented the town of Erythrae; cf. 5. 285, 11. 105, 22. 22. 
In 7. 354 Erythraeus really means "Arabian"; the vague 
geography of the poets often merges Arabia or Aethiopia with 



Thus she sits, a queen on her throne, but instead 
of sceptre the shaft of a lamp fills her right hand. 
Night stands near the goddess, with her feet already 
turning to flee, and behind the dais Light scarce 
perceived is beginning to reveal the topmost peak. 
When from hence the goddess saw Rome drawing 
nigh through the cloudless air, she sprang up in 
haste and was the first to speak, thus beginning with 
kindly words : " O head of the world, why dost 
thou revisit my kingdom ? What are thy commands ? ' ' 
The other was silent for a brief space, then thus 
began, mingling harsh and gentle phrase : ^ " I come 
(cease to be thus perturbed, and be not grievously 
alarmed), not that Araxes,^ mastered by me, may 
have to flow beneath a bridge forced upon it, nor that 
in the ancient manner the Indian Ganges ® may be 
drunk from an Italian helmet, nor that a consul, 
ranging through the fields of tiger-haunted Niphates, 
home of archers, may triumphantly despoil Artaxata 
by the Caspian Sea. I do not now beg for the realm 
of Porus, nor that these arms may thrust a batter- 
ing-ram to shatter Erythrae* on the bank of the 
Hydaspes. I am not hurling myself against Bactra, 
nor are the gates of Semiramis' town^ laughing to 
hear our trumpets starting the fight. I crave not 
the palaces of Persian kings, nor is word being passed 
in camp of mine to march on Ctesiphon. All this 
region ^ we have yielded up to thee. Do I not even 

India ; so in another reference to the Phoenix, 9. 325 ; the same 
bird appears among the Indian captives of Bacchus, 22. 50. 

' i.e. of Babylon, which had, however, decayed after the 
death of Alexander the Great. For the contemptuous refusal 
to close the gates see n. on v. 80, 

• For the boundaries of the eastern and western Empires 
as finally settled after the death of Theodosius (a.d. 395) see 
Gibbon, c. 29 init., Hodgkin, I. 677-8. 



et nee sic mereor nostram ut tueare senectam ? 
omne quod Euphraten Tigrimque interiacet olim 
sola tenes : res empta mihi est de sanguine Crassi, 
ad Carrhas pretium scripsi ; nee inulta remansi 455 
aut periit sic emptus ager ; si fallo, probasti, 
Ventidio mactate Sapor, nee sufficit istud : 
Armenias Pontumque dedi, quo Marte petitum 
dicat Sulla tibi ; forsan non creditur uni : 
consule Lucullum. taceo iam Cycladas omnes : 460 
adquisita meo servit tibi Creta Metello. 
transcripsi Cilicas : hos Magnus fuderat olim. 
adieci Syriae, quos nunc moderaris, Isauros : 
hos quoque sub nostris domuit Servilius arinis. 
concessi Aetolos veteres Acheloiaque arva, 465 

transfudi Attalicum male credula testamentum ; 
Epirum retines : tu scis cui debeat illam 
P)nThus. in Illyricum specto te mittere iura 
ac Macetum terras : et habes tu, Paule, nepotes. 
Aegypti frumenta dedi : mihi vicerat olim 470 

Leucadiis Agrippa fretis. ludaea tenetur 
sub dicione tua, tamquam tu miseris illuc 
insignem cum patre Titum. tibi Cypria merces 
fertur : pugnaces ego pauper laudo Catones. 
Dorica te tellus et Achaica rura tremiscunt, 475 

475. rura Mohr : iura. 

^ Three Persian kings had borne the name Sapor (Shapur), 
but Sidonius uses it to denote any Persian, or rather Parthian, 
king or prince. It was Pacorus, son of Orodes I, who was 
defeated and slain by P. Ventidius Bassus in 38 B.C. See 
n. on 7. 99. 

2 Attalus III of Pergamum, who died in 133 B.C., be- 
queathed, or was said to have bequeathed, his dominions to 
the Romans ; hence arose the Roman province of Asia. 

3 L. AemiUus PauUus defeated Perseus of Macedon at 
Pydna (168 B.C.). 



thus deserve that thou protect mine old age? All 
that lies between Euphrates and Tigris thou hast 
long possessed alone ; yet that possession was bought 
by me with the blood of Crassus ; at Carrhae I paid 
down the price ; nor did I remain unavenged nor 
lose the land thus bought ; if my word is not good, 
Sapor 1 hath proved it, slain by Ventidius. Nor is 
this enough. I gave up the Armenias and Pontus — 
by what martial might assailed, let Sulla tell thee ; 
perchance one man's word is not enough, then ask 
Lucullus. I keep silence now about all the Cyclades 
— but Crete, which my Metellus won, is thrall to thee. 
I made over to thee the Cilicians, yet Magnus had 
routed them long ago. To Syria I added the Isaur- 
ians, whom thou governest now, yet these likewise 
Servilius subdued beneath our arms. I yielded up 
to thee Aetolia's ancient race and the lands where 
Achelous flows ; with ill-starred trustfulness I handed 
over to thee the bequest of Attalus.^ Thou dost 
hold Epirus, though thou knowest who won the title 
to it from Pyrrhus. I see thee extending thy rule 
to Illyricum and the land of the Macedonians, and 
yet descendants of Paulus ^ still live. I gave thee the 
corn of Egypt, though Agrippa had conquered the 
land for me long since in the strait of Leucas.* Judea 
is held beneath thy sway, as if it were thou that hadst 
sent there the glorious Titus and his sire. To thee is 
the revenue of Cyprus brought, while I in poverty 
belaud my warlike Catos.^ The Dorian land and 
Achaia's fields tremble before thee, and thou stretch- 

* i.e. at the battle of Actium. 

^ The younger Cato (" Uticensis ") was sent to Cyprus in 
58 B.C. to annex the island. 



tendis et in bimarem felicia regna Corinthon : 
die, Byzantinus quis rem tibi Mummius egit ? 
*' Sed si forte placet veteres sopire querellas, 
Anthemium concede mihi. sit partibus istis 
Augustus longumque Leo ; mea iura gubernet 480 
quern petii ; patrio vestiri murice natam 
gaudeat Euphemiam sidus divale parentis, 
adice praeterea privatum ad publica foedus : 
sit socer Augustus genero Ricimere beatus ; 
nobilitate micant : est vobis regia virgo, 485 

regius ille mihi. si concors annuis istud, 
mox Libyam sperare dabis. circumspice taedas 
antiquas : par nulla tibi sic copula praesto est. 
proferat hie veterum thalamos discrimine partos 
Graecia, ni pudor est : reparatis Pisa quadrigis 490 
suscitet Oenomaum, natae quem fraude cadentem 
cerea destituit resolutis axibus obex ; 
procedat Colchis prius agnita virgo marito 
crimine quam sexu ; spectet de carcere circi 
pallentes Atalanta procos et poma decori 495 

Hippomenis iam non pro solo colligat auro ; 
Deianira, tuas Achelous gymnade pinguis 
inlustret taedas et ab Hercule pressus anhelo 

1 See 195-7. 

* Alypia, daughter of Anthemius, was married to Ricimer 
in 467 A.D. Sidonius reached Rome in the midst of the 
celebrations (Epist. I. 5. 10). 

^ i.e. by the defeat of Geiserio. 

* Cf. 14. 12, 23. 392. 

' Medea : crimine refers to the murder of her brother 
Absyrtus (see 5. 132-7). 

* i.e. not merely on account of the gold, as on the first 
occasion, but because she would fain have Hippomenes win. 

' Cf. 11. 87, 14. 16-20. The struggle of Achelous with 
Hercules for the possession of Deianira is often mentioned in 



est thy prosperous sovereignty to where Corinth 
lies between the two seas : pray tell me this — what 
Byzantine Mummius did this work for thee ? 

" But if haply it please thee to lay old grievances to 
rest, grant me Anthemius. In these lands let Leo 
be emperor, and long may he reign! But let my 
laws be in the hands of him whom I have asked of 
thee ; and let the star of her deified father rejoice 
that Euphemia his daughter is robed in the purple 
of her ancestors ! ^ Add also a private compact to 
our public one : let a parent who is Emperor be 
blessed by having his daughter wedded to Ricimer.^ 
Both shine with the lustre of high rank ; in her ye 
have a royal lady, in him I have a man of royal blood. 
If thou dost willingly agree to this, thou shalt permit 
me to hope for Libya ^ anon. Survey the nuptials 
of olden time, and no union such as this event can 
offer itself to thy view. Here let Greece bring 
forward, unless she be ashamed, those marriages of 
her ancients which were won by peril. Let Pisa 
bring back her four-horse chariot and revive Oeno- 
maus,* who fell by a daughter's guile, when the waxen 
linch-pins betrayed him, unloosing the axles ; let 
the maid of Colchis^ come forward, who was brought 
to her husband's knowledge by her crime before he 
knew her as a woman ; let Atalanta gaze on her 
pale suitors from the starting-place in the circus and 
no longer gather the apples of the comely Hippomenes 
for their gold alone ® ; let Achelous, with the oil of 
the wrestling-school upon him, glorify the nuptials of 
Deianira,^ and, clasped tightly by the panting Her- 

ancient literature. See Sir J. G. Frazer's n, on Apollodorus II. 
7. 5 (Vol. I, p. 256 in this series). Gymnade pinguis is oddly 
used of a river-deity. 



lassatum foveat rivis rivalibus hostem : 
quantumvis repetam veteris conubia saecli, 500 

transcendunt hie heroas, heroidas ilia, 
hos thalamos, Ricimer, Virtus tibi pronuba poscit 
atque Dionaeam dat Martia laurea myrtum. 
ergo age, trade virum non otia pigra foventem 
deliciisque gravem, sed quern modo nauticus urit 505 
aestus Abydenique sinus et Sestias ora 
Hellespontiacis circumelamata procellis ; 
quas pelagi fauces non sic tenuisse vel ilium 
crediderim cui ruptus Athos, cui remige Medo 
turgida silvosam currebant vela per Alpem ; 510 

nee Lucullanis sic haec freta cincta carinis, 
segnis ad insignem sedit cum Cyzicon hostis, 
qui cogente fame cognata cadavera mandens 
vixit morte sua. sed quid mea vota retardo ? 
trade magis." 515 

Tum pauca refert Tithonia coniunx : 
" due age, sancta parens, quamquam mihi maximus 

invieti summique ducis, dum mitior exstes 
et non disiunetas melius moderemur habenas. 
nam si forte placet veterum meminisse laborum, 
et qui pro patria vestri pugnaret luli, 520 

ut nil plus dicam, prior hinc ego Memnona misi." 

P'inierant ; geminas iunxit Concordia partes, 
electo tandem potitur quod principe Roma. 

^ Anthemius was in command of the fleet in the Hellespont 
when called to the Imperial throne. 

' Xerxes. 

' Sidonius is wrong. It was Mithridates who commanded 
the sea throughout his disastrous siege of Cyzicus (74-73 B.C.), 
though his ships could not save him from famine. See also 
22. 163-168. 



cules, refresh his wearied a dversaryvvith spiteful spate : 
recall as I may the marriages of the olden time, this 
man excels all the god-descended heroes, she the 
heroines. Valour hath this union in her charge ; 
she demands it for thee, Ricimer, and thus the laurel 
of Mars bestows on thee the myrtle of Venus. Come 
then, deliver to me this man who neither cherishes 
lazy ease nor is numbed by indulgence, but who even 
now is harassed by the heaving deep,^ by the bay of 
Abydos and the shore of Sestos with the tempests of 
the Hellespont roaring all around. Not so firmly, 
methinks, was this narrow sea held even by him^ 
who burst through Athos and with his Median oars- 
men made his swelling sails rush through wooded 
mountains ; nor was this strait so hemmed by 
Lucullus' ships 3 when before famed Cyzicus idly 
lingered that enemy who when hunger pressed him 
devoured the bodies of his kin and thus lived by the 
death of his own. But why do I delay the fulfilment 
of my prayer ? Rather deliver him now to me ! " 

Then answered Tithonus' spouse in these few 
words : " Come, take him, reverend mother, although 
I have great need of a mighty and unconquerable 
leader, — provided that thou wilt now show thyself 
more kindly, and so we may better wield the reins 
in joint control. For if haply it please thee to 
remember the toils of olden days, I was before thee — 
to mention but this — in sending Memnon * hence to 
fight for the native land of your lulus." 

They had finished, and Concord united the two 
sides, for Rome at length gained the emperor of her 

* Memnon, who appears in post-Homeric accounts as an 
ally of the Trojans, was the son of Tithonus and Eos (Aurora). 


VOL. I. E 


nunc aliquos voto simili vel amore, vetustas, 

te legisse crepa, numquam non invida summis 525 

emeritisque viris. Brenni contra arma Camillum 

profer ab exilio Cincinnatoque secures 

expulso Caesone refer flentemque parentem 

a rastris ad rostra roga, miseroque tumultu 

pelle prius, quos victa petas ; si ruperit Alpes 530 

Poenus, ad adflictos condemnatosque recurre ; 

improbus ut rubeat Barcina clade Metaurus, 

multatus tibi consul agat, qui milia fundens 

Hasdrubalis, rutilum sibi cum fabricaverit ensera, 

concretum gerat ipse caput, longe altera nostri 535 

gratia iudicii est : scit se non laesus amari. 

Sed mea iam nimii propellunt carbasa flatus ; 
siste, Camena, modos tenues, portumque petenti 
iara placido sedeat mihi carminis ancora fundo. 
ai tamen, o princeps, quae nunc tibi classis et 
arma 540 

tractentur, quam magna geras quam tempore parvo, 
si mea vota deus produxerit, ordine recto 
aut genero bis mox aut te ter consule dicam. 

537. sed Luetjokann : et. 

^ Camillus was exiled on a charge of having made an unfair 
division of the booty taken at Veii (Liv. V. 32. 8). 

2 Caeso, son of the great L. Quinctius Cincinnatus, was 
exiled, and a heavy fine was imposed upon him, which his 
father had to pay (Liv. III. 11-14). Three years later (458 
B.C.), Cincinnatus was summoned from the plough to the 
dictatorship in order to rescue the Romans from the Aequians 
(Liv. III. 26-29). 

' M. Livius Salinator, consul in 219 B.C., condemned on 
a charge similar to that brought against Camillus (n. on v. 527), 
retired from Rome to the country and took no part in public 



choice. And now, Antiquity, thou who art ever 
jealous of the greatest men and greatest benefactors, 
prate if thou wilt of choices made by thee with 
like eagerness and affection ! Bring Camillus ^ forth 
from his exile to confront the arms of Brennus ; give 
Cincinnatus the fasces once more after banishing 
Caeso, invite the weeping parent from the rake 
to the rostra,2 and in miserable discord drive men out, 
only to seek their help in thine hour of defeat! 
Should the Carthaginian have burst the Alps asunder, 
have recourse to men that have been broken and 
condemned ; if the insatiate Metaurus is to be 
reddened by the defeat of Barca's son, let a consul 
thou hast fined do the work for thee, and as he routs 
Hasdrubal's thousands, let him who has fashioned a 
bloody sword for his use himself show an unkempt 
head.^ Far different is the graciousness of our 
choice ; he has never been wronged, but knows that 
he is loved.* 

But now too strong are the breezes that drive my 
sails before them. Check, O Muse, my humble 
measures, and as I seek the harbour let the anchor 
of my song settle at last in a calm resting-place. 
Yet of the fleet and forces that thou, O prince, art 
handling and of the great deeds thou doest in little 
time I, if God further my prayers, shall tell in order 
due in the second consulship of thy daughter's 

affairs until he was compelled to return in 210 B.C. He came 
in the guise of disgrace and mourning, with unkempt hair 
and matted beard and in shabby attire (Liv. XXVII. 34. 5). 
He was made consul for the year 207 with C. Claudius Nero, 
with whom he shared in the victory over Hasdrubal at the 

* i.e. he has not had to suffer injury, hke those old Romans, 
before gaining the love of the people. 



nam modo nos iam festa vocant, et ad Vlpia poscunt 
te fora, donabis quos libertate, Quirites, 545 

quorum gaudentes exceptant verbera malae. 
perge, pater patriae, felix atque omine fausto 
captives vincture novos absolve vetustos. 


Quid faceret laetas segetes, quod tempus amandum 

messibus et gregibus, vitibus atque apibus, 
ad Maecenatis quondam sunt edita nomen ; 

hinc, Maro, post audes arma virumque loqui. 
at mihi Petrus erit Maecenas temporis huius ; 5 

nam famae pelagus sidere curro suo. 
si probat, emittit, si damnat carmina, celat, 

nee nos ronchisono rhinocerote notat. 
i, liber : hie nostrum tutatur, crede, pudorem ; 

hoc censore etiam displicuisse placet. 10 

1 Ricimer had been consul in a.d. 459. 

2 The forum of Trajan. The public manumission of some 
slaves was regularly performed by the consuls when they 
entered upon their office. Cf. Claud. IV. Cons. Hon.. 612-618. 
The ceremony included the traditional blow on the cheek 
(alapa), the significance of which is uncertain. See Mr. 
R. G. Nisbet's interesting paper in J.R.S. VIII. 1., pp. 1-14. 

' i.e. as a result of his coming victory over Geiseric. 
* These two lines are partly a quotation, partly a para- 
phrase, of the opening of Virgil's Georgics. 



husband,^ or in thy third ; but now a festival doth call 
us, and thy presence at the Ulpian Forum ^ is de- 
manded by those citizens-to-be on whom thou wilt 
bestow liberty, whose cheeks receive their buffets with 
joy. Forward, then, Father of thy country, blest of 
fortune, and with happy omen release old captives, 
to bind new ones anon.^ 



What made the cornfields joyous, what season 
is dear to harvest-crops and flocks, to vines and 
bees,* was once declared in a poem addressed to 
Maecenas ; thereafter, Maro, thou didst dare to 
sing of " arms and the man." But to me Petrus ^ 
shall be the Maecenas of this time; for I glide 
over the sea of fame under his guiding star. If he 
approves my poems he lets them go forth, if he 
condemns them, he suppresses them, but he never 
censures me with the snorting snout of a rhinoceros. 
Go, then, my book ; for believe me, he sustains my 
bashfulness ; with him for censor it is a pleasure 
even to have displeased. 

■^ Petrus, Imperial secretary [magister epistularum) under 
Majorian, a man of some literary ability (see Carm. 9. 306 sqq., 
Epist. IX. 13. 4 and the carmen which follows). He was evi- 
dently instrumental in reconciling the Emperor to Sidotiius after 
the trouble at Lugdunum (Introd., p. xxxvii), and also in negoti- 
ating terms of surrender for the besieged Gallo-Romans and 
their Burgundian allies ; see 5. 564-573. 






Tityrus ut quondam patulae sub tegmine fagi 

volveret inflates murmura per calamos, 
praestitit adflicto ius vitae Caesar et agri, 

nee stetit ad tenuem celsior ira reum ; 
sed rus concessum dum largo in principe laudat, 5 

caelum pro terris rustica Musa dedit ; 
nee fuit inferius Phoebeia dona referre : 

fecerat hie dominum, feeit et ille deum. 
et tibi, Flacce, acies Bruti Cassique secuto 

earminis est auctor qui fuit et veniae. 10 

sic mihi diverso nuper sub Marte cadenti 

iussisti invicto, victor, ut essem animo. 
serviat ergo tibi servati lingua poetae 

atque meae vitae laus tua sit pretium. 
non ego mordaci fodiam modo dente Maronem 15 

nee civem carpam, terra Sabella, tuum. 
res minor ingenio nobis, sed Caesare maior ; 

vincant eloquio, dummodo nos domino. 

12. invicto victor Stangl, erecto victor Leo : victor victor. 

^ Verg. Eel. I. 1. Tityrus is, as usual, taken to represent 

2 Octavian, as a Triumvir, might be spoken of as angry 
with Cremona, which supported Brutus and suffered severely 
when confiscated lands were assigned to the veterans of Phihppi. 
The confiscations were extended to the territory around 
Mantua, "too near, alas! to hapless Cremona" (Verg. Ec. 
IX. 28), and Virgil was evicted. Thus the " wrath " of 
Octavian might be said to have extended to Virgil. There is 
no other authority for the statement in v. 4; probably 
Sidonius is writing from a confused recollection. 





That Tityrus ^ of old under the canopy of a spread- 
ing beech might pour forth his warblings breathed 
into the reed, Caesar vouchsafed him in his hour 
of distress the right to Hve and possess his land, 
and the wTath of majesty endured not against an 
humble offender.^ But the rustic Muse, praising 
thus a bounteous prince for a farm restored, gave 
in return for that earthly boon a place in heaven; 
nor was such repayment with the gifts of Phoebus 
too poor a recompense, for whereas the one man 
had made the poet a master of lands, the poet 
made him a god. To Flaccus likewise, when he had 
followed the campaigns of Brutus and Cassius, he 
who was the source of his pardon was also the source j\ 

of his song.3 So it is with me ; laid prostrate not^ [L^^^ 
long since in the ranks of thy foe, I was bidden by \ ^-^^ 
thee, my conqueror, to keep an unconquered spirit.^ ^ ^ 
So let the tongue of a poet thus preserved yield its 
service to thee, and let my praises be the recom- 
pense for my life. I will not now fix a malignant 
tooth in Maro or carp at the citizen of the Sabine 
country. My work must needs be less than theirs 
in talent, but it is greater in its Caesar. Let them 
surpass me in the power of utterance, so long as I 
surpass them in my lord and master. 

' If this refers to Maecenas, the statement is incredible; 
Horace was first introduced to Maecenas in 38 b.c. But, as 
Geisler says (p. 11, n. 5), the context suggests that the reference 
is to Octavian. 




Concipe praeteritos, respublica, mente triumphos : 
imperium iam consul habet, quern purpura non plus 
quam lorica operit, cuius diademata frontem 
non luxu sed lege tegunt, meritisque laborum 
post palmam palmata venit ; decora omnia regni 5 
accumulant fasces et princeps consule crescit. 
personat ergo tuum caelo, rure, urbibus, undis 
exsultans Europa sophos, quod rector haberis, 
victor qui fueras. fateor, trepidaverat orbis 
dum non vis vicisse tibi nimioque pudore 10 

quod regnum mereare doles tristique repulsa 
non moderanda subis quae defendenda putasti. 

Sederat exserto bellatrix pectore Roma, 
cristatum turrita caput, cui pone capaci 
casside prolapsus perfundit terga capillus. 15 

^ Delivered at Lugdunum late in the year 458. See 
Introd., p. xxxvii. 

2 The tunica palmata : n. on 2. 6 f . 

' These words seem to be a flattering reference to the 
interval between April 1 and December 28, 457. The date 
of Majorian's accession is a vexed problem; see Stein, p. 
554 n. and N. Baynes in Journ. Bom. Stud. XII (1922), 
pp. 223 f. and XVIII (1928), pp. 224 f. The scanty evidence 
available seems to indicate that on April 1 b was proclaimed 
by the soldiers with the connivance of '/•"<, the eastern 
Emperor, but that his formal adoption b;. ^late, army and 
people did not take place until December T'^ Sidonius {v. 388, 
collega) tells us that Leo gave his assent on the latter occasion. 
This was strictly necessary (see n. 6 on p. 7), and there 




Picture to your minds, O Roman people, all your 
past triumphs ; now a consul holds the imperial 
power, one whom the hauberk clothes no less than 
the purple, whose brow is wTeathed with the diadem 
not through vain parade but through lawful power, 
and to whom as reward of his toils doth come the 
palm-decked robe ^ after the victor's palm. Now the 
fasces crown all the splendours of sovereignty, and 
the prince is magnified in the consul. Therefore 
jubilant Europe shouts a " bravo " for thee, echoing 
through sky and countryside and cities and waters, 
since thou who wert a conqueror art now greeted as 
ruler. I confess it, the world trembled with alarm 
while thou wert loth that thy victories should benefit 
thee, and with overmuch modesty wert grieved that 
thou didst deserve the throne, and so with a woful 
refusal wouldst not undertake to rule that which 
thou hadst deemed worth defending.^ 

Rome, the warrior-goddess, had taken her seat. 
Her breast was uncovered, on her plumed head was 
a crown of towers, and behind her, escaping from 
under her spacious helmet, her hair flowed over her 

seems to be no cogent reason for doubting the poet's assertion. 
Stein rather arbitrarily takes the mention of Leo to refer to 
April 1, while implicitly admitting that the reference in the 
same sentence to " commons, Senate and army " apphes 
only to December 28. The attitude of Leo does seem to have 
been wavering and baffling, and may well have made Majorian 
hesitate, but it is very doubtful if Majorian would have com- 
mitted himself irrevocably on December 28 without at least a 
formal assent from the eastern Emperor. 



laetitiam censura manet terrorque pudore 
crescit, et invita superat virtute venustas. 
ostricolor pepli textus, quern fibula torto 
mordax dente forat ; turn quidquid mamma refundit 
tegminis, hoc patulo concludit gemma recessu. 20 
hinc fulcit rutilus spatioso circite laevum 
umbo latus ; videas hie crasso fusa metallo 
antra Rheae fetamque lupam, quam fauce retecta 
blandiri quoque terror erat ; quamquam ilia vorare 
Martigenas et picta timet ; pars proxima Thybrim 25 
exprimit ; hie scabri fusus sub pumice tofi 
proflabat madidum per guttura glauca soporem ; 
pectus palla tegit, quam neverat Ilia coniunx, 
liquenti quae iuncta toro vult murmura lymphis 
tollere et undosi somnum servare mariti. 30 

ista micant clipeo ; cuspis trabe surgit eburna, 
ebria caede virum. propter Bellona tropaeum 
exstruit et quercum captivo pondere curvat. 
consurgit solium saxis quae caesa rubenti 
Aethiopum de monte cadunt, ubi sole propinquo 35 
nativa exustas adflavit purpura rupes. 
iungitur hie Synnas, Nomadum lapis additur istic, 
antiquum mentitus ebur ; post caute Laconum 
marmoris herbosi radians interviret ordo. 

19. forat Wilamowitz : vorat. 

^ Compare the shorter description ofRome's shield, 2. 395 sq. 

* The reference is to lapis Syenites, a red granite quarried 
near Syene (Assouan), on the Egyptian side of the Ethiopian 
border. Syene was supposed to lie on the tropic ; its heat was 
proverbial. See also Epist. II. 2. 7. For similar lists of 
stones see 11. 17-19, 22. 136-141, Epist. II. loc. cit. 



back. She has a sternness ready to rebuke exulta- 
tion, her modest mien but makes her more terrible, 
and her valour is loth to see her beauty triumph. 
Purple-hued is her robe, which a clasp pierces with 
the bite of its twisted tooth ; that part of her mantle 
which her breast throws off is gathered up by a 
jewel under her ample bosom. Here a glowing shield^ 
of vast circumference supports her left side. Thereon 
can be seen, cast in thick metal, the cave of Rhea, 
and the mother-wolf, whose very caresses were fear- 
some with those open jaws — yet even in her pictured 
guise she is afraid to devour the sons of Mars. The 
near side figures Tiber, outstretched under a porous 
rock of scaly tuif and breathing forth his humid 
slumber through his grey-green throat. His breast 
is covered with a robe which his wife Ilia had spun, 
and she, close to that dripping couch, would fain 
stop the plashing and guard the sleep of her watery 
mate. Such are the pictures that sparkle on the 
shield. Her spear, set on an ivory shaft, towered 
up, drunk with the slaughter of men. Near by 
Bellona was building up a trophy and making an 
oak tree bend Avdth the weight of captured spoils. 
The lofty throne was fashioned of the stones that 
are quarried and lowered from the ruddy Aethi- 
opian mount, where the sun is nigh and thus a 
natural purple has tinged the seared crags,^ Here 
Synnadian, there Numidian marble, that counter- 
feits old ivory ,3 was added; after these the grass- 
hued marble from Laconian scaur interposed a row 
of radiant green. 

• Numidian marble {" giallo antico ") " varies in colour from 
the faintest straw tint to deep shades of rich yellow." (M. W. 
Porter, What Borne was built mth, p. 37.) 



Ergo ut se mediam solio dedit, advolat omnis 40 
terra simul. turn quaeque suos provincia fructus 
exposuit : fert Indus ebur, Chaldaeus amomum, 
Assyrius gemmas, Ser vellera, tura Sabaeus, 
Atthis mel, Phoenix palnias, Lacedaemon olivum, 
Areas equos, Epirus equas, pecuaria Callus, 45 

arma Chalybs, frumenta Libys, Campanus lacchum, 
aurum Lydus, Arabs guttam, Panchaia myrrham, 
Pontus castorea, blattam Tyrus, aera Corinthus ; 
Sardinia argentum, naves Hispania defert 
fulminis et lapidem ; scopulos iaculabile fulgur 50 
fucat et accensam silicem fecunda maritat 
ira deum ; quotiens caelum se commovet illic, 
plus ibi terra valet. 

Subito flens Africa nigras 
procubuit lacerata genas et cernua frontem 
iam male fecundas in vertice fregit aristas 55 

ac sic orsa loqui : " venio pars tertia mundi, 
infelix felice uno. famula satus olim 
hie praedo et dominis exstinctis barbara dudum 
sceptra tenet tellure mea penitusque fugata 
nobilitate furens quod non est non amat hospes. 60 
o Latii sopite vigor, tua moenia ridet 
insidiis cessisse suis : non concutis hastam ? 
non pro me vel capta doles ? tua nempe putantur 

56. loqui est codd. plerique. 

^ This stone was probably a kind of cat's-eye. Accord- 
ing to one popular belief it was foiuid only in places which 
had been struck by lightning (Isid. Etym. XVT. 13. 6. Some 
said this only of a rare variety of thunder-stone : Plin. N.H, 
xxxvii. 135). The stone was called cerauniua (so. lapis)^ 
ceraunia (sc. gemma), or ceraunium. 

^ Or possibly "becomes more precious.'* 

8 Cf. 2. 358 sq. 



So when she had seated her on the throne in the 
midst, all lands flocked to her at once. The provinces 
display their several fruits ; the Indian brings ivory, 
the CJhaldaean nard, the Assyrian jewels, the China- 
man silk, the Sabaean frankincense ; Attica brings 
honey, Phoenicia palms, Sparta oil, Arcadia horses, 
Epirus mares, Gaul flocks and herds, the Chalybian 
arms, the Libyan corn, the Campanian wine, the 
Lydian gold, the Arab amber, Panchaia myrrh, 
Pontus castory, Tyre purple, and Corinth bronzes ; 
Sardinia offers silver, Spain ships and the thunder- 
stone ^ — for there the flashing levin-bolt stains the 
rocks, and the fertilising wrath of the gods impreg- 
nates the heated flint : whensoever in that clime the 
sky stirs itself to fury, the earth there waxes stronger. 2 

Of a sudden Africa flung herself down weeping, 
with her swarthy cheeks all torn. Bowing her fore- 
head she broke the corn-ears that crowned her, ears 
whose fruitfulness was now her bane ; and thus she 
began: " I come, a third part of the world, unfor- 
tunate because one man is fortunate. This man, 
son of a slave-woman,^ hath long been a robber ; he 
hath blotted out our rightful lords, and for many a 
day hath melded his barbarian sceptre in my land, 
and having driven our nobility utterly away this 
stranger loves nothing that is not mad.* O slumber- 
ing energy of Latium ! He makes scornful boast that 
thy walls yielded to his cunning.^ Wilt thou not then 
brandish the spear ? Dost thou not grieve for me, even 
though thou too hast been captured ? In sooth it is 

* There is a double meaning in nobilitas {nohles and nobleness) : 
he has driven away all that is noble and loves only what is mad. 

^ The Vandals under Geiseric sacked Rome in June, a.d. 
455. Insidiis may contain a reference to the suspected collusion 
of Geiseric with the Empress Eudoxia. See Bury I. 324. 



surgere fata malis et celsior esse ruina ; 

sed melius, quod terror abit : iam vincere restat, 65 

si pugnas ut victa soles. Porsenna superbum 

Tarquinium impingens complevit milite Tusco 

laniculum quondam ; sed dum perrumpere portas 

obsidione parat totam te pertulit uno 

Coclitis in clipeo ; presserunt milia solum 70 

multa virum pendente via ; nee ponte soluto 

cum caderet cecidit. rex idem denique morte 

admonitus scribae didicit sibi bella moveri 

non solum cum bella forent ; mox pace petita 

in regnum rediit, non tam feriente fugatus 75 

quam flagrante viro. steterat nam corde gelato 

Scaevola et apposito dextram damnaverat igni, 

plus felix peccante manu, cum forte satelles 

palleret constante reo tormentaque capti 

is fugeret qui tortor erat. Brennum tremuisti, 80 

post melior: quodcumque tuum est, quodcumque 

iam solus Tarpeius erat ; sed reppulit unus 
turn quoque totam aciem, Senones dum garrulus 

nuntiat et vigilat vestrum sine milite fatum. 
me quoque (da veniam quod bellum gessimus olim) 85 
post Trebiam Cannasque domas, Romanaque tecta 
Hannibal ante meus quam nostra Scipio vidit. 

65. quo codd. plerique. 

1 Cf. 7. 5, Hor. Garm. iv. 4. 57-68, etc. 

2 corde gelato, which should refer to fear (Luc. VII. 339), 
here means " perfectly cool." There is a characteristically 
absurd contrast between the coolness of Scaevola and the heat 
of the fire. 



believed that thy fortunes are exalted by ills and that 
a fall makes thee rise all the higher ;^ but now thy case 
is better, for the menace hath departed from thee ; 
now victory awaits thee if thou but fight as thou 
art wont to fight after defeats. Once Porsenna, 
forcing Tarquin the Proud upon thee, filled Jani- 
culum with Tuscan soldiery ; but as he made ready 
by siege to break through thy gates, he met in the 
one shield of Codes the whole of thee. Myriads 
bore hard upon that lone man while the passage 
across hung doubtful ; and when the bridge was 
broken he fell, yet did not fall. The selfsame king 
at last took warning from his scribe's death and 
learned that he was being warred against not only 
when war was raging ; thereupon he sought peace 
and returned to his kingdom, driven back less by a 
man's blow than by his burning. For Scaevola 
had stood with heart cool as ice^ and doomed his 
right hand to the fire near by (happier he in that 
his hand struck in error), while the retainer grew 
pale as he saw the offender's courage, and the 
torturer fled from the prisoner's tortures. Thou 
didst quake before Brennus,^ though later thou wast 
more than his match. It had come to such a pass 
that all the possessions and all the name thou now 
enjoy est were bound up in the Tarpeian mount * 
alone ; but then also one man drove back a whole 
host, when the cackling goose announced the Senones 
and thy destiny kept watch without warriors. Me 
also (forgive me that I warred with thee aforetime) 
thou didst crush after the Trebia and Cannae, yet 
my Hannibal viewed Rome's roofs ere Scipio saw 

' The Gaul who captured Rome (390 B.C.). 
* i.e. the Capitol, which was not taken. 



quid merui ? fatis cogor tibi bella movere, 

cum volo, cum nolo, trepidus te territat hostis, 

sed tutus claudente freto, velut hispidus alta 90 

sus prope tesqua iacet claususque cacuminat albis 

OS nigrum telis gravidum ; circumlatrat ingens 

turba canum, si forte velit concurrere campo ; 

ille per obiectos vepres tumet atque superbit, 

vi tenuis fortisque loco, dum proximus ' heia ! ' 95 

venator de coUe sonet : vox nota magistri 

lassatam reparat rabiem ; turn vulnera caecus 

fastidit sentire furor, quid proelia differs ? 

quid mare formidas, pro cuius saepe triumphis 

et caelum pugnare solet ? quid quod tibi princeps 100 

est nunc eximius, quem praescia saecula clamant 

venturum excidio Libyae, qui tertius ex me 

accipiet nomen ? debent hoc fata labori, 

Maioriane, tuo. quem cur conscendere classem 

ac portus intrare meos urbemque subire, 105 

si iubeas, cupiam, paucis ex ordine fabor. 

" Fertur, Pannoniae qua Martia pollet Acincus, 
lUyricum rexisse solum cum tractibus Histri 
huius avus ; nam Theudosius, quo tempore Sirmi 
Augustum sumpsit nomen, per utramque magistrum 

101. sic codd. Bernetisis et Paris. 2782: nuncpraetura (prae- 
terea M) eximius quem saecula ceteri. 

^ Probably a reference to the defeat of the Vandals ofE 
Corsica in a.d. 456 (n. on 2. 367). 

^ Rather an unfortunate expression, coming from the 
lips of Africa; but Sidonius, like his model Virgil {Aen. I. 
22), is thinking of the conquest of Carthage. . Carthage was 
Geiseric's capital. 

^ i.e. after the two Scipios. Nomen refers to the honorary 
surname Africaniis. 



ours. Wliat is my fault ? I am compelled by some 
fate to stir up wars against thee, when I will it and 
when I will it not. It is a frightened foe that 
frights thee now,i but he is guarded by the enclosing 
sea, as a shaggy boar lies low on the edge of the 
wild and, thus shut in, sharpens the white weapons 
wherewith his black jaws are loaded: around him 
barks a great pack of hounds, hoping he may choose 
to give them battle in the open plain, but he amid 
his barrier of briers swells with insolence, poor in 
dash but strong in situation, till the huntsman 
coming near shouts from the hill * Have at him ' ; 
then the master's well-known voice revives the jaded 
fury of the dogs to a blind frenzy that scorns to feel 
wounds. Why dost thou delay the fight? Why 
dost thou fear the sea, when even heaven is wont 
so oft to battle for thy victories ? And hast 
thou not now a peerless prince, whom the pro- 
phetic ages proclaim as destined for Libya's de- 
struction,'^ and who shall be the third ^ to get an 
added name from me ? To thy toil, Majorian, fate 
owes this guerdon. And the reason why I desire, 
if thou shouldst so bid, that he embark with his 
fleet and sail into my harbours and enter my city — 
this I will briefly declare in due order. 

" 'Tis recorded that, where stands in all its might 
the martial city of Acincus * in Pannonia, his grand- 
father ruled the land of lUyricum together with the 
Danube-regions : for Theodosius, when he took the 
name of Augustus at Sirmium,^ before setting forth 

* Acincus (more usually Aquincum, Aquinquum or Acin- 
cum), a town in Pannonia Inferior on the right bank of the 
Danube; mod. Alt-Ofen or O'-Buda. 

* Sirmium, modern Mitrovitza, capital of Pannonia Inferior, 



militiam ad partes regni venturus Eoas 111 

Maiorianum habuit. Latiis sunt condita fastis 

facta ducis quotiens Scythicis inlata colonis 

classica presserunt Hypanim, Peucenque rigentem 

mente salutatis inrisit lixa pruinis. 115 

hunc socerum pater huius habet, vir clarus et imo 

culmine militiae semper contentus, ut unum 

casibus in dubiis iunctus sequeretur amicum. 

non semel oblatis temptavit fascibus ilium 

Actio rapere aula suo, sed perstitit ille, 120 

maior honoratis : coepit pretiosior esse 

sic pretio non capta fides, erat ille quod olim 

quaestor consulibus : tractabat publica iure 

aera suo : tantumque modum servabat ut ilium 

narraret rumor iam rebus parcere nati. 125 

" Senserat hoc sed forte ducis iam livida coniunx 
augeri famam pueri, suffusaque bili 
coxerat internum per barbara corda venenum. 
ilicet explorat caelum totamque volutis 
percurrit mathesim numeris, interrogat umbras, 130 
fulmina rimatur, fibras videt, undique gaudens 
secretum rapuisse deo. sic torva Pelasgum 
Colchis in aplustri steterat trepidante marito 
115. vid. Class. Quart, loc. cit. p. 17. 

^ His name was Domninus. 

2 He must have controlled the war-chest of Aetius. His 
office is compared with that of the quaestor consulis in republican 
Rome. This official accompanied his chief to war and after- 
wards to his province; his duties were mainly financial. 
Hodgkin, II. 404, wrongly says that Domninus was quaestor. 
Apart from other considerations, the words of Sidonius himself 
imply that the official designation of Domninus, whatever it 
may have been, w as certainly not quaestor. 



to the eastern parts of the realm, had a Majorian 
as his Master of Both Services. The exploits of this 
leader have been inscribed in Rome's public annals 
whensoever his troops were launched against the 
Scythian landsmen and marched over the Hypanis, 
and even the camp-followers mocked at frozen 
Pence, bidding welcome to the frosts. This leader's 
daughter was married to our prince's father,^ a 
renowned man who was content to the end with a 
single high office in the imperial service, that he 
might follow one single friend and cling to him in 
times of jeopardy. Not once but oft the court 
strove with offers of the consulship to steal him from 
his Aetius, but he stood firm, a greater man than 
those who received these dignities ; and a loyalty 
which no price could tempt came to be held more 
precious. He was what of old the quaestor was to 
the consuls ; ^ he controlled the public funds by right 
of his office ; and such moderation did he maintain 
that rumour declared he was thus early saving the 
future possessions of his son. 

" But as it chanced, the wife of the leader ,3 
already jealous, had perceived that the youth's 
renown was thus waxing greater, and, filled with 
spleen, she had nursed the hidden venom in her 
barbarian heart. So now she searches the sky, 
casting up numbers and exhausting the astrologer's 
lore ; she questions ghosts, explores the thunder- 
bolts, and gazes at entrails, rejoicing to wrest God's 
secret purpose from every source. Even thus 
grimly had stood the Colchian woman * on the stern 

' The young Majorian got his first taste of military service 
under Aetius. The explanation here given of his sudden 
dismissal may be merely a piece of popular gossip. 

* Cf. 2. 493. 



Absyrtum sparsura patri facturaque caesi 
germani plus morte nefas, dum funere pugnat 135 
et fratrem sibi tela facit ; vel cum obruit ignem 
taurorum plus ipsa calens texitque trementem 
frigida flamma virum, quem defendente veneno 
inter flagrantes perhibent alsisse iuvencos. 

" Ergo animi dudum impatiens, postquam audiit isti 
imperium et longum statui, laniata lacertos 141 

ingreditur, qua strata viri, vocemque furentem 
his rupit : ' secure iaces, oblite tuorum, 
o piger : et mundo princeps (sic saecula poscunt) 
Maiorianus erit ; clamant hoc sidera signis, 145 

hoc homines votis. isti quid sidera quaero, 
fatum aliud cui fecit amor ? nil fortius illo, 
et puer est cupidus numquam, sed parcus habendi ; 
pauper adhuc iam spargit opes, ingentia suadet 
consilia et sequitur, totum quod cogitat altum est, 
urget quod sperat. ludum si forte retexam, 151 

consumit quidquid iaculis fecisse putaris 
istius una dies : tribus hunc tremuere sagittis 
anguis, cervus, aper. non sic libravit in hostem 
spicula qui nato serpentis corpore cincto 155 

plus timuit cum succurrit, dum iactibus isdem 
interitum vitamque daret stabilemque teneret 
corde tremente manum, totamque exiret in artem 

152. consumpsit LM. 

^ Alcon. Cf. 183. The son whom he saved was Phalerus, 
one of the Argonauts, 


of the Grecian ship in the presence of her terrified 
husband, ready to throw Absyrtus in pieces at his 
father and commit a horror worse than her brother's 
murder, as she used a corpse for battle and made 
missiles of her own kin : so too when, herself burn- 
ing with a fiercer warmth, she quenched the fire of 
the bulls, and chilled was the flame that enwrapped 
her trembling lover, who, they say, through the 
protection of a magic drug, felt cold amid the blazing 

** So after long chafing, when she heard that 
the sovereignty was ordained even from of old 
for that youth, she tore her arms and entered thus 
where her lord's couch stood, and broke forth into 
these frenzied cries : ' Heedless thou liest there, 
sluggard, oblivious of thine own, and Majorian (for 
so the ages claim) is to be the world's chief; the 
stars proclaim this by signs and mankind by their 
prayers. Why do I search for stars baneful to him for 
whom love has created another destiny ? No power is 
stronger than love. And the youth is never covetous, 
but is moderate in his getting; though his wealth 
as yet is slender, he is already lavish with his means. 
Great plans he urges and follows. All his thoughts 
aspire high, and he pushes forward whatever his 
hopes conceive. Were I to recount his sport — one 
single day of his wipes out all that thou art reputed 
to have performed as bowTnan : three arrows laid 
trembling before him a snake, a stag and a boar. 
Not so surely was the shaft launched against the 
foe by him^ who, when his son was encircled by a 
serpent's body, felt a new dread in the act of succour- 
ing, as he dispensed both life and destruction with 
the same shot, keeping a steady hand with a quaking 
heart, and as hope drew closer his fear found relief 



spe propiore metus, dans inter membra duorum 

unius mortem, libeat decernere caestu : 160 

cessit Eryx Siculus, simili nee floruit arte 

Sparta, Therapnaea pugilem cum gymnade pinguem 

stratus Bebryciis Amycus suspexit harenis. 

qui vigor in pedibus ! frustra sibi natus Ophelte 

Sicaniam tribuit palmam, plant asque superbas 165 

baud ita per siccam Nemeen citus extulit Areas, 

cuius in Aetolo volitantem pulvere matrem 

horruit Hippomenes, multo qui caespite circi 

contemptu praemissus erat, cum carceris antro 

emicuit pernix populo trepidante virago, 170 

nil toto tactura gradu, cum pallidus ille 

respiceret medium post se decrescere campum 

et longas ad signa vias flatuque propinquo 

pressus in hostili iam curreret anxius umbra, 

donee ad anfractum metae iam iamque relictus 175 

concita ter sparso fregit vestigia pomo. 

qui videt hunc equitem Ledaeum spernit alumnum 

ac iuvenem, Sthenoboea, tuum, cui terga vetustas 

pennati largitur equi Lyciamque Chimaeram 

quem superasse refert, vulnus cum sustulit unum 180 

tres animas. vitam tum si tibi fata dedissent, 

Maioriane ferox, vetuisses Castora frenos, 

Pollucem caestus, Alconem spicula nosse, 

^ Son of Aphrodite and Butes and founder of the town and 
temple of Eryx, in Sicily, according to some accounts; but 
the legends about him vary a great deal. His prowess as a 
boxer is referred to by Virgil, Aen. V. 391 f., 401 ff. ; vv. 
410-414 mention the boxing contest in which Hercules 
defeated and killed him. According to another version, 
it was a -wTestling-bout. 

^ Amycus, the boxing king of the Bebryces, vanquished by 
Pollux in the course of the Argonautic expedition. 

' Euryalus, son of Opheltes (Verg. ^4en. IX. 201), the victor 
in the foot-race at the games celebrated in Sicily by Aeneas 
{Aen. V. 315-361). 



in the full exercise of his skill, dealing death to 
one amid the entangled bodies of two. Or suppose 
he chooses to try the issue in boxing — Sicilian Eryx^ 
has now yielded up his glory, nor did Sparta bloom 
with such prowess when on the sand of Bebrycia the 
prostrate Amycus ^ looked up at the boxer greasy 
with the oil of the Laconian gymnasium. And what 
power of foot is his ! In vain does the son of Opheltes ^ 
claim the palm won in Sicily : nor did the swift 
Arcadian * so lift his proud feet as he sped over 
thirsty Nemea, he whose mother, as she flitted over 
the Aetolian dust, dismayed Hippomenes, con- 
temptuously sent far ahead along the course, when 
that fleet man-like maid dashed forth from the 
mouth of the starting-pen before the breathless 
throng, never to plant her whole foot anywhere, 
while he with blanched cheeks looked back and saw 
the intervening space behind him grow ever less, 
and scanned the long distance to the goal ; and 
now he felt her breath close upon him and he was 
running, sore distressed, upon his adversary's 
shadow, till at the turning-point he bade fair to be 
left behind; then he arrested those flying steps by 
thrice throwing her an apple. Whoso sees him on 
horseback scorns the child of Leda ^ and Sthenoboea's 
loved one,^ whom ancient story dowers with a 
winged mount, telling also that he overcame the 
Lycian Chimaera, destroying three lives with one 
stroke. Had fate granted it to thee to live then, 
gallant Majorian, thou wouldst have taken from 
Castor, Pollux, and Alcon their title to mastery of 

* Parthenopaeus, son of Atalanta ; he was one of the 
" Seven against Thebes " and won the foot-race at the first 
celebration of the Nemean games. According to another 
version, he was the winner of the archery-contest. 

» i.e. Castor : cf. 182. « i.e. Bellerophon : of. 184. 



Bellerophonteis insultaturus opimis. 
si clipeum capiat, vincit Telamone creatum, 185 

qui puppes inter Graias contra Hectoris ignem 
ipsam etiam infidi classem defendit Vlixis. 
missile si quanto iaculetur pondere quaeris, 
segnius insertae trepidans pro fasce Camillae 
excussit telum Metabus, nee turbine tanto 190 

stridula Pelidae per Troilon exiit ornus ; 
nee sic heroum tardantem busta Creontem 
Atticus Aegides rupit Marathonide quercu ; 
nee sic intortum violatae Phoebados ultrix 
in Danaos fulmen iecit, cum Graecia Troiae 195 

noctem habuit similemque faeem fixusque Capherei 
cautibus inter aquas flammam ructabat Oileus. 
" ' Parva loquor. quid quod, quotiens tibi bella 
discipulus, non miles adest ? et fingit alumnum : 
aemulus econtra spectat. quod viceris odit 200 

et quos vincis amat. totus dormitat ad istum 
magnus Alexander, patris quem gloria torsit. 
quid faciam infelix ? nato quae regna parabo 
cxclusa sceptris Geticis, respublica si me 
praeterit et parvus super hoc Gaudentius huius 205 
calcatur fatis ? istum iam Gallia laudat 
quodque per Europam est. rigidis hunc abluit undis 

^ Ajax, son of Telamon : see Ovid, Met. XIII. 5 ff. 

« The tale of Metabus is told in Verg. Aen. XI. 539-566. 

3 Theseus slew Creon, who had refused burial to Polynices 
and the other assailants of Thebes. See Statius, Theh. XII. 
768 £E. 

* The " lesser Ajax," son of Oileus, had assaulted Cassandra 
in the temple of Pallas Athena. The vengeance of the 
goddess is here, as often {e.g. Verg. Aen. I. 39-45), associated 
with the destruction of the returning Greek ships on Cape 
Caphereus. Pallas wrecks the ships, hurling many thunder- 
bolts, one of which strikes Ajax and flings him upon a pointed 
rock. Facem refers to the lightning. 


the bridle, the boxing-glove and the arrow, and thou 
wouldst have made a mockery of Bellerophon's 
proud spoils. Should he take up his shield, he sur- 
passes the offspring of Telamon,^ who among the 
Greek ships defended against Hector's fires even the 
fleet of the treacherous Ulysses. If you ask with 
what force he hurls the javelin — more feebly did 
Metabus ^ fling his dart when alarmed for the bundle 
that held Camilla ; with a less powerful swing did the 
ashen shaft of Peleus's son pass whirring through the 
body of Troilus ; not with such strength did the man 
of Athens, son of Aegeus, crush with Marathonian 
oak Creon, who was hindering the burial of the 
heroes 3; nor was the thunderbolt sent hurtling so 
violently against the Greeks by the maiden avenger 
of Phoebus' wronged votary, when Greece suffered 
a night such as Troy's with like flaring of brands, 
and the son of Oileus,* pinned on the cliffs of 
Caphereus, vomited flame amid the waters. 

" * But these are trifles I speak of. There is more : 
whenever thou wagest war, he is near thee as a 
learner, not as a soldier, and while he professes him- 
self thy pupil he looks on thee with a rival's eye. 
He hates the thought that thou hast conquered, and 
them that thou conquerest he loves. Compared with 
him, Alexander the Great, to whom his father's glory 
was torture,^ is an arrant sluggard. Unhappy me ! 
What shall I do? What realm shall I win for my 
son, debarred as I am from a Gothic sceptre,^ if 
Rome ignores me and, to crown all, our little Gauden- 
tius is trodden underfoot by this youth's destiny? 
Already Gaul and all Europe sound his praises. He 

' See Plutarch, Alex. c. 5. 

• The wife of Aetius was, or claimed to be, of royal Gothic 
descent. Her father, Carpilio, was comes domesticorum under 



Rhenus, Arar, Rhodanus, Mosa, Matrona. Sequana 

Clitis, Elaris, Atax, Vacalis ; Ligerimque bipenni 
excisum per frusta bibit. cum bella timentes 210 
defendit Turonos, aberas ; post tempore parvo 
pugnastis pariter, Francus qua Cloio patentes 
Atrebatum terras pervaserat. hie coeuntes 
claudebant angusta vias arcuque subactum 
vicum Helenam flumenque simul sub tramite longo 
artus suppositis trabibus transmiserat agger. 216 

illic te posito pugnabat ponte sub ipso 
Maiorianus eques. fors ripae colle propinquo 

214. fortaaee arcusque 8ub ictu. Vid. Class. Quart, loc. ciU 
p. 18. 

Honorius, and her elder son was named after him. The 
younger son, Gaudentius, was named after his paternal grand- 
father. He was born about 440 and in 455 was taken by 
Greiseric as a prisoner to Africa, where he apparently died not 
later than 462. The present passage seems to imply that 
Carpilio, the elder brother of Gaudentius, was dead. He had 
been a member of an embassy to Attila on behalf of Aetius 
(Cassiod. Var. I. 4. 11), perhaps in a.d. 434. It may have 
been on this occasion that he was detained by the Huns as a 
hostage. He seems to have regained his liberty, possibly by 
flight (Priscus, fr. 8, F. H. G. IV. 81). Nothing further is 
known about him. 

1 Ledus, the Laz, near MontpeUier. Clitis tmknown. Elaris 
=■ Elaver, the Allier, a tributary of the Loire. Atax^ the Avxie. 
Vacalis ( Vachalis, VacaliLS, Vahalis), the Waal. 

* Tours may have been threatened by an invasion of the 
Aremoricans. It is usual to connect these words with 7. 246, 
where the subjugation of the Aremoricans by Litorius 
(apparently in a.d. 437) is mentioned. But there was another 



bathes in the icy waters of Rhine, Arar, Rhone, 
Mosa, Matrona, Sequana, Ledus, Clitis, Elaris, 
At ax, Vacalis ^ ; the Liger he cleaves with an axe 
and drinks piece by piece. When he defended the 
Turoni,^ who feared the conflict, thou wast not 
there ; but a little later ye fought together where 
Cloio^ the Frank had overrun the helpless lands of 
the Atrebates. There was a narrow passage at 
the junction of two ways, and a road crossed 
both the village of Helena, which was within bow- 
shot, and the river, where that long but narrow 
path was supported by girders. Thou wert posted 
at the cross-roads, while Majorian warred as a 
mounted man close to the bridge itself.* As chance 

Aremorican rising about 446, and Tours may then also 
have been threatened. On the other hand, Sidonius may be 
referring to an occurrence not elsewhere recorded. 

' Other forms are C(h)lodio, Chlogio. The incident here 
related (for which Sidonius is the only authority) is usually 
dated a.d. 428 (" about the year 431," C. M. H.). This dating 
is quite incompatible with the mention in v. 205 of Gaudentius 
(bom about 440), taken in conjunction with the repeated 
insistence on the extreme youth of Majorian (who was, indeed, 
still iuvenis at the time of his accession : see v. 524) ; needless 
to say, it is also incompatible with the usual explanation of 
the reference to Tours (see the last note). The date was in 
all probabihty after 440 and may have been several years later. 
Stein (p. 493, n. 2) gives 451 as the terminiLS ante quern, 

* The above rendering is given with some diffidence, but 
seems preferable to any other that has been ofEered. The 
meaning is that a narrow road ran from the cross-roads 
through the village and was continued over the bridge which 
spanned the river. The two strategic points were the cross- 
roads and the bridge; there Aetius and Majorian were 
respectively posted. The agger and the trames are the same 
thing. Artii3 is here translated as if it agreed with tramite, 
in order to bring out the antithesis of the juxtaposed adjectives 
longo and artiis — a feeble "point " for the sake of which Sidonius 



barbaricus resonabat hymen Scythicisque chore is 
nubebat flavo similis nova nupta marito. 220 

hos ergo, ut perhibent, stravit ; crepitabat ad ictus 
cassis et oppositis hastarum verbera thorax 
arcebat squamis, donee conversa fugatus 
hostis terga dedit ; plaustris rutilare videres 
barbarici vaga festa tori coniectaque passim 225 

fercula captivasque dapes cirroque madente 
ferre coronatos redolentia serta lebetas. 
ilicet increscit Mavors thalamique refringit 
plus ardens Bellona faces ; rapit esseda victor 
nubentemque nurum. non sic Pholoetica monstra 
atque Pelethronios Lapithas Semeleius Euan 231 
miscuit, Haemonias dum flammant orgia matres 
et Venerem Martemque cient ac prima cruentos 
consumunt ad bella cibos Bacchoque rotato 
pocula tela putant, cum crudescente tumultu 235 
poUuit Emathium sanguis Centauricus Othryn. 
nee plus nubigenum celebrentur iurgia fratrum : 
hie quoque monstra domat, rutili qui bus arce cerebri 
ad frontem coma tracta iacet nudataque cervix 
saetarum per damna nitet, turn lumine glauco 240 
albet aquosa acies ac vultibus undique rasis 
pro barba tenues perarantur pectine cristae. 

has dislocated and complicated the sentence. For a fuller 
discussion see Clcias. Quart, loc. cit. pp. 17 fE. PiignabcU in v. 
217 means merely "was serving," or "was under arms"; 
the fighting began later. Helena has not been identified with 
certainty; most historians now seem to favour Helesmes 
(Dep. Nord) ; other possibihties are Vieil-Hesdin and Lens. 

1 Scyth., i.e. Frankish. Contrast 2. 239, 7. 246, 280, 304, 
where "Scythian" refers to the Huns; 6. 329 (Vandals: 
see n. on 2. 351); 7. 403, 498 (Goths). 

* The Centaurs were sons or descendants of Ixion and a 



would have it, the echoing sound of a barbarian 
niaiTiage-song rang forth from a hill near the river- 
bank, for amid Scythian ^ dance and chorus a yellow- 
haired bridegroom was wedding a young bride of 
like colour. Well, these revellers, they say, he laid 
low. Time after time his helmet rang with blows, 
and his hauberk with its protecting scales kept off 
the thrust of spears, until the enemy was forced to 
turn and flee. Then might be seen the jumbled 
adornments of the barbarian nuptials gleaming red 
in the waggons, and captured salvers and viands 
flung together pell-mell, and servants crowned with 
perfumed garlands carrying \vine-bowls on their 
oily top-knots. Straightw^ay the spirit of Mars 
waxes fiercer and the nuptial torches are snapped 
asunder by the more fiery goddess of war ; the 
victor snatches their chariots and carries off the 
bride in the hour of her bridal. Not so fiercely did 
Bacchus, Semele's son, embroil Pholoe's monsters 
and the Thracian Lapitliae, when his revels inflamed 
the Thracian women, stirring up both love and war, 
and they used for the struggle first of all the bloody 
meats of the feast, and whirling the wine about 
deemed their cups weapons ; while, as the affray 
grew fiercer, the blood of Centaurs defiled Emathian 
Othrys. And truly the quarrel of the cloud-born 
brothers ^ deserves no more renown ; for this youth 
likewise subdues monsters, on the crown of whose 
red pates lies the hair that has been drawn towards 
the front, while the neck, exposed by the loss of its 
covering, shows bright. Their eyes are faint and 
pale, with a glimmer of greyish blue. Their faces 
are shaven all round, and instead of beards they 
have thin moustaches which they run through with 



strictius assutae vestes procera cohercent 
membra virum, patet his altato tegmine poples, 
latus et angustam suspendit balteus alvum. 245 

excussisse citas vastum per inane bipennes 
et plagae praescisse locum clipeosque rotare 
ludus et intortas praecedere saltibus hastas 
inque hostem venisse prius ; puerilibus annis 
est belli maturus amor, si forte premantur 250 

seu numero seu sorte loci, mors obruit illos, 
non timor ; invicti perstant animoque supersunt 
iam prope post animam. tales te teste fugavit 
et laudante viros. quisnam ferat ? omnia tecum, 
te sine multa facit. pugnant pro principe cuncti : 
quam timeo, ne iam iste sibi ! si regna tenebit, 256 
huic vincis, quodcumque domas. nil fata relinquunt 
hie medium : percussor enim si respuis esse, 
servus eris. certe recto si tramite servat 
sidera Chaldaeus, novit si gramina Colchus, 260 

fulgura si Tuscus, si Thessalus elicit umbras, 
si Lyciae sortes sapiunt, si nostra volatu 
fata locuntur aves, doctis balatibus Hammon 
si sanctum sub Syrte gemit, si denique verum, 
Phoebe, Themis, Dodona, canis, post tempora nostra 
lulius hie Augustus erit. coniunctus amore 266 

praeterea est iuveni, grandis quem spiritus armat 
regis avi. quo te vertas ? ad culmina mundi 

1 The oracle of Apollo at Patara : Verg, Aen. IV. 346. 

* The god Ammon (or Hammon) was represented as a ram, 
or in human form with the head (sometimes with only the 
horns) of a ram. 

^ Reference to Ricirner. The " royal grandfather " is 
Wallia ; see n. on 2. 362-5. 


a comb. Close-fitting garments confine the tall 
limbs of the men; they are drawn up high so as 
to expose the knees, and a broad belt supports their 
narrow middle. It is their sport to send axes hurt- 
ling through the vast void and know beforehand 
where the blow will fall, to whirl their shields, to 
outstrip with leaps and bounds the spears they 
have hurled and reach the enemy first. Even 
in boyhood's years the love of fighting is full- 
grown. Should they chance to be sore pressed by 
numbers or by the luck of the ground, death may 
overwhelm them, but not fear ; unconquerable they 
stand their ground, and their courage well-nigh out- 
lives their lives. Such men did he put to flight with 
thee to witness and to praise. Who could endure 
it? All thine exploits he shares, many more he 
performs without thee. All men fight for their 
emperor ; I fear, alas ! he now fights for himself. If 
he should win the sovereignty, then all the con- 
quests thou makest are victories for him. Here the 
fates leave no middle course ; if thou refuse to be 
his assassin, thou wilt be his slave. Certain is this : 
if the Chaldaean goes not astray in his star-gazing, 
if the Colchian has knowledge of herbs, the Tuscan 
of lightning, if the Thessalian tempts forth the 
ghosts of the dead, if the Lycian oracle^ hath dis- 
cernment, if the birds can tell our destiny by their 
flight, if Hammon nigh to the Syrtes wails forth a 
hallowed rede with prescient bleatings,^ yes, if 
Phoebus, Themis, Dodona chant forth the truth, 
then when our day is over this man shall be Julius 
Augustus. Moreover, there is linked with him in 
bonds of affection one who is armed with the great 
spirit of a royal grandfather.^ Whither canst thou 



hie fatum fert, ambo animum. consurge simulque 
aggredere ignaros. neutrum mactare valebis, 270 
si iubeas utrumque mori ; sed necte dolosas 
blanditias uni, ferro tamen iste petatur. 
quid loquor incassum ? nihil est quod tanta cavemus : 
ut regnet victurus erit ! ' 

" Commotus in iras 
Aetius sic pauca refert : * compesce furentis 275 

impia vota animi. mortem mandare valebo 
insontis, taceam nostri ? quisquamne precatur 
ut sine criminibus crimen fiat bene nasci ? 
ad poenam quis fata vocet ? tua viscera ferro, 
Maioriane, petam, Phoebus si nocte refulget, 280 
Luna die, duplex ponto si plaustra novatur 
Parrhasis, Atlantem Tanais, si Bagrada cernit 
Caucason, Hercynii nemoris si stipite lintris 
texta Nabataeum pro Rheno sulcat Hydaspen, 
si bibit Hispanus Gangen tepidisque ab Erythris 285 
ad Tartesiacum venit Indus aquator Hiberum, 
si se Pollucis perfundit sanguine Castor, 
Thesea Pirithoi, Pyladen si stravit Orestae 
vel furibunda manus, raperet cum Taurica sacra 
matricida pius. sed ne sprevisse dolorem 290 

forte tuum videar, vivat careatque parumper 
militia, heu ! potuit nobis, nisi triste putasses, 
fortunam debere suam.' 

1 The Bears. 

* Eryth. : n. on 2. 447. 



turn? To the world's topmost pinnacle he directs 
his fate and both direct their thoughts. Arise and 
assail them at the same time unawares. Neither of 
them wilt thou be able to slay if thou shouldst order 
that both die ; nay, rather weave crafty flatteries for 
the one, and let this man be attacked with the sword. 
But why do I speak vain words ? 'Tis for naught 
that we seek to avert these fateful events. He will 
surely live that he may reign.' 

" Aetius, stirred to wrath, thus briefly answered: 
* Curb the impious longings of thy frenzied spirit ! 
Can I order the death of a man who is innocent, 
not to say our friend ? Can anyone urge that where 
no crime is charged it be made a crime to be well- 
born? Who can summon the fates to judgment? 
I will assail thy body with the sword, Majorian, — 
yes, if the sun shines by night and the moon by 
day, if the two Arcadian constellations ^ have their 
wains refreshed in the sea, if Tanais looks on Atlas 
and Bagrada on the Caucasus, if the boat com- 
pacted of timbers from the Hercynian forest cleaves 
the eastern Hydaspes instead of the Rhine, if the 
Spaniard drinks of the Ganges and the Indian comes 
from warm Erythrae ^ to the Spanish Ebro to draw 
water, if Castor steeps himself in his brother's blood, 
if the hand of Pirithous laid Theseus low, or the 
hand of Orestes, frenzied as it was, struck Pylades 
down when the filial matricide was snatching the 
holy image from the Tauric shrine. Nevertheless, 
I would fain not be deemed to have slighted thy 
distress; so he shall live, indeed, but he shall be 
taken from his soldiering for a brief space. Alas! 
But for thy gloomy thoughts he might have owed 
his rise to me ! * 


VOL. I. T 


" Sic fatur et ilium 
rure iubet patrio suetos mutare labores, 
fatorum currente rota, quo disceret, agri 295 

quid possessorem maneat, quos denique mores 
ius civile paret, ne solam militis artem 
ferret ad imperium. suspenderat ilicet arma 
emeritus iuvenis, sterilis ieiunia terrae 
vomere fecundans. sic quondam consule curvo 
vertebas campos, paulum si pace sequestra 301 

classica laxasses, fortis cui laeva regebat 
stivam post aquilas, humili dum iuncta camino 
victoris fumum biberet palmata bubulci. 

" Principis interea gladio lacrimabile fatum 305 
clauserat Aetius ; cuius quo tutius ille 
magna Palatinis coniungeret agmina turmis, 
evocat hunc precibus. sed non se poena moratur 
sanguinis effusi (numerum collegerat ergo, 

295. agri Luetjohann : agro. 

^ Aetius was slain by Valentinian Til and the eunuch cham- 
berlain Heraclius on Sept. 21, A.D. 454. Petronius Maximus, 
who had instigated this murder in the vain hope of suc- 
ceeding Aetius as " the Patrician," soon turned upon his 
imperial master and caused him to be assassinated on March 
16, A.D. 455. On the following day he was proclaimed Emperor. 
A month and a half later he was killed as he sought flight before 
the Vandals' advance on Rome. When Geiseric departed 
after plundering the capital, Avitus was proclaimed Emperor 
in Gaul, and he entered Rome before the end of the year, 
accompanied by our poet, his son-in-law. Scarcely a year 
later he was deposed by Ricimer and Majorian, and died 
shortly afterwards. After an interregnum he was succeeded, 
in the year 457, by Majorian, who would perhaps have 
been elevated two years before had not Petronius Maximus 
stood in his way. It must have been very hard for Sidonius to 
write this part of the poem. Avitus, of course, is not 



" So spake he, and ordered the fighter to exchange 
his wonted toil for his native fields ; but fate's 
revolving wheel was here at work, to the end that 
he might learn what is in store for the possessor of 
land and likewise what conduct the civil law creates, 
and so he might bring to the throne more than a 
soldier's skill. Straightway he had hung up his 
armour, this veteran young in years, and was making 
the leanness of a barren land fruitful with the 
plough. Even so in old times thou wert wont, O 
Rome, to upturn thy fields by the work of a stooping 
consul, when peace had intervened for a little and 
thou hadst relaxed thy campaigning ; and his stout 
left hand would control the plough after he had 
ruled the legions, while near the lowly hearth a 
peasant-conqueror's palm-decked robe drank in the 

" Meanwhile Aetius ^ had fulfilled his melancholy 
fate by the sword of the emperor; who, that he 
might with more safety win over the great hosts 
of his victim to join the Palatine bands, called on 
Majorian with prayers to come to him.^ But punish- 
ment for the blood that he had shed was not long in 
coming (so 'twas a mere mob he had rallied round 

* After the death of Aetius, Valentinian summoned 
Majorian from his retreat and made him comes domesticorum. 
The palatini, like the old Praetorian Guards, were stationed in 
various parts of Italy. They were under the command of 
the magister utriusque militiae. The domestici, another body 
of guards, usually but not always in attendance at the Court, 
were commanded independently by the comes domesticorum. 
Magna agmina refers particularly to the great body of armed 
retainers {buccellarii) which Aetius had enlisted in his service, 
and which almost certainly outnumbered the regular troops 
available in Italy. 



non animum populi) : ferri mala crimina ferro 310 
solvit et in vestram plus concidit ille ruinam. 
iam tunc imperium praesentis principis aurea 
volvebant bona fata colu ; sed publica damna 
invidiam fugere viri. quicumque fuerunt 
nomen in Augustum lecti, tenuere relictum 315 

Caesaribus solium : postquam tu capta laboras, 
hie quod habet fecit. Traianum Nerva voeavit, 
cum pignus iam victor erat : Germanicus esset 
ut titulis, meritis fuerat. res ordine currit ; 
banc ambit famam quisquis sic incipit. olim 320 
post Capreas Tiberi, post turpia numina Gai, 
censuram Claudi, citharam thalamosque Neronis, 
post speculi immanis pompam, quo se ille videbat 
hinc turpis, quod pulcher, Otho, post quina Vitelli 
milia famosi ventris damnata barathro, 325 

his titulis princeps lectus similique labore 
Vespasianus erat. 

" Sed ne fortasse latroiiis 
me clausam virtute putes, consumpsit in illo 
vim gentis vitae vitium ; Scythicam feritatem 
non vires, sed vota tenent, spoliisque potitus 330 
immensis robur luxu iam perdidit omne 
quo valuit dum pauper erat. mea viscera pro se 
in me nunc armat ; laceror tot capta per annos 

326. lahori GPTF. 

* At this point it is perhaps necessary to remind the reader 
that Africa is addressing all these words to the goddess Roma. 

* See Suet. Claiid. 16 for the eccentric conduct of Claudius 
as censor. 

3 See Juvenal II. 99. 

* This was not true of Geiseric, though it may have been 
true of many of his followers. 



him, not the hearts of the people) ; the sword's 
crime he expiated by the sword, and so he fell, O 
Rome, bringing thee lower than he himself was 
brought. Yet even then the kindly fates with their 
golden distaff were evolving the reign of our present 
chief; but the calamities of the people shrank from 
bringing enmity on such a man. All who had been 
chosen to bear the name of Augustus had held a 
throne left for them by the Caesars ; but he, when 
thou^ wert captured and in sore trouble, created that 
which he now holds. Nerva called Trajan to power 
when his son was already a conqueror; in official 
title he was styled Germanicus, but his deeds had 
made him so already. The one thing leads to the 
other : whoever begins thus aims at the same glory. 
In olden days after Tiberius in Capri, after Gaius' 
base assumption of divinity, after the censorship of 
Claudius ,2 after Nero with his lyre and his lechery, 
after the parade of that horrible mirror ^ in which 
Otho, foul because he was fair, was wont to behold 
himself, after Vitellius' five millions of money con- 
demned to the bottomless pit of his scandalous belly, 
Vespasian had been chosen emperor with the same 
titles won by the same toil as Trajan's and Majorian's. 
" But lest haply thou think that I am securely 
hemmed in by the valour of the Robber, know that 
in him the vileness of his vices has sapped the vigour 
of his race.* His Scythian ^ savagery is governed not 
by his strength but by his desires ; spoils immense 
he has won, but already by his profligacy he has 
lost all that made him strong when he was poor. 
Now he arms mine own flesh against me for his own 
ends, and after all these years of captivity I am being 

' See nn. on 219 above and on 2. 351. 



ure suo, virtute mea, fecundaque poenis 
quos patiar pario. propriis nil conficit armis : 335 
Gaetulis, Nomadis, Garamantibus Autololisque, 
Arzuge, Marmarida, Psyllo, Nasamone timetur 
segnis, et ingenti ferrum iam nescit ab auro. 
ipsi autem color exsanguis, quern crapula vexat 
et pallens pinguedo tenet, ganeaque perenni 340 
pressus acescentem stomaehus non explicat aurani. 
par est vita suis ; non sic Barcaeus opimam 
Hannibal ad Capuam periit, cum fortia bello 
inter delicias moUirent corpora Baiae 
et, se Lucrinas qua vergit Gaurus in undas, 345 

bracchia Massylus iactaret nigra natator. 
atque ideo hunc dominum saltern post saecula tanta 
ultorem mihi redde, precor, ne dimicet ultra 
Carthago Italiam contra." 

Sic fata dolore 
ingemuit lacrimisque preces adiuvit obortis. 350 

his haec Roma refert : " longas succinge querellas, 
o devota mihi : vindex tibi nomine divum 
Maiorianus erit. sed paucis pauca retexam. 
ex quo Theudosius communia iura fugato 
reddidit auctoris fratri, cui guttura f regit 355 

^ This is related by Livy, XXIII. 18. 11-16, and is a favourite 
topic with later writers. 

2 In this answer of the goddess Roma the poet takes the 
opportunity of indicating the hardships suffered by Gaul 
during the past 75 years, with the object of enlisting Majorian's 
sympathy and of excusing the recent rebellion 



cruelly torn under his authority by the prowess of 
mine own ; fertile in afflictions I bring forth sons to 
bring me suffering. Naught doth he perform with 
his own arms ; Gaetulians, Numidians, Garaman- 
tians, Autoloh, Arzuges, Marmaridae, Psylli, Nasa- 
mones — it is these that make him feared, but he is 
sunk in indolence and, thanks to untold gold, no 
longer knows aught of steel. His cheeks are blood- 
less ; a drunkard's heaviness afflicts him, pallid 
flabbiness possesses him, and his stomach, loaded 
\vith continual gluttony, cannot rid itself of the sour 
wind. His followers live like him : Hannibal of 
Barca's race was not so utterly undone in affluent 
Capua's land,^ when Baiae enfeebled amid all its 
allurements bodies that were strong for war, and 
the Massylian took to swimming and flourished his 
swarthy arms about where Gaurus stoops down to 
the Lucrine waters. So do thou, I pray thee, give 
me but this one lord after these many ages to be 
my avenger, that so Carthage may cease to war 
against Italy." 

So speaking, she groaned in her distress, and the 
starting tears gave support to her prayers. Rome 
answered ^ : " Curb thy long plaint, my faithful one ; 
Majorian shall be thine avenger commissioned by 
heaven. 3 But a few things in few words I will 
recall. Ever since Theodosius restored a joint 
authority to his patron's exiled brother, whose neck 
was broken by a hand destined to be turned against 

' Mr. Stevens (p. 46, n. 5) inadvertently accuses the poet 
of inconsistency here : " In v. 352 Rome tells Africa who her 
saviour is to be, but in v. 104 Africa is represented as already 
knowing his name." But in the earlier passage Africa says 
"Majorian is the deliverer I want," and here Rome says 
"Majorian you shall have"; there is no inconsistency, 



post in se vertenda manus, mea Gallia rerum 
ignoratur adhuc dominis ignaraque servit. 
ex illo multum periit, quia principe clauso, 
quisquis erat, miseri diversis partibus orbis 
vastari sollemne fuit. quae vita placeret, 360 

cum rector moderandus erat ? contempta tot annos 
nobilitas iacuit : pretium respublica forti 
rettulit invidiam, princeps haec omnia noster 
corrigit atque tuum vires ex gentibus addens 364 
ad bellum per bella venit ; nam maximus isse est, 
non pugnasse labor, terimus cur tempora verbis ? 
pervenit et vincit." tali sermone peractum 
concilium, verbisque deae famulante metallo 
aurea Concordes traxerunt fila sorores. 

Hos me quos cecini Romae Libyaeque labores 370 
vota hominum docuere loqui ; iam tempus ad ilia 
ferre pedem quae fanda mihi vel Apolline muto : 
pro Musis Mars vester erit. conscenderat Alpes 
Raetorumque iugo per longa silentia ductus 
Romano exierat populato trux Alamannus 375 

^ Gratian, who had raised Theodosius to Imperial power 
(hence auctor), was assassinated by his soldiers when the 
pretender Magnus Clemens Maximus invaded Gaul (a.d. 383). 
Maximus invaded Italy in 387 in order to attack Valentinian II 
(half-brother of Gratian), who fled to the East. Maximus was 
beheaded in the following year, whereupon Theodosius not 
only restored Valentinian to his former sway but gave him 
in addition the share of the Empire which Gratian had held. 
The death of Valentinian (a.d. 392) seems to have been brought 
about by Arbogastes, though the story of the stranghng is 
doubtful. Arbogastes kUled himself after the battle of the 
Frigidus (Sept. 6, 394). 

2 principe clauso, referring to Honorius and Valentinian III 
in Ravenna. These emperors were helpless, or worse, without 
the control of stronger hands (StiHcho, Constantius, Placidia, 
Aetius) : hence rector moderandus erat (v. 361). 



itself,^ my land of Gaul hath even till now been 
ignored by the lords of the world, and hath languished 
in slavery unheeded. Since that time much hath 
been destroyed, for with the emperor, whoe'er he 
might be, closely confined,^ it has been the constant 
lot of the distant parts of a wTetched world to be 
laid waste. What manner of life could satisfy when 
the ruler required a controlling hand ? For many a 
year the nobility have lain prostrate and despised, 
and enmity has been the state's reward for the 
valiant. Now our prince is amending all this,^ and 
he advances to your wars by way of other wars, 
adding fresh forces from divers peoples ^ ; for 'tis the 
going, not the fighting, that is hardest. But why 
do we waste time in words ? He comes, he con- 
quers." With such speech the assembly was ended, 
and the fateful sisters harmoniously spun golden 
threads, whose metal humbly obeyed the words of 
the goddess. 

These afflictions of Rome and Africa that I have 
sung the yearnings of mankind did teach me to 
proclaim ; now it is time to advance to deeds which 
must needs be told, even were Apollo dumb. Thy 
Mars shall take the Muses' place. The savage 
Alaman had scaled the Alps, and, led down by way 
of the Rhaetian ridge over its long silences, had 
emerged, plundering the Roman land ; he had sent 

• This is perhaps as much a priiyer as a statement of fact. 

* Allusion to the Emperor's design of securing the loyalty 
and co-operation of the various foreign peoples in Gaul and 
Spain as a preliminary to the expedition against Geiseric. 
He had made a beginning with the conquered Burgundians, 
and the submission of the Visigoths came in the following 
year. See also n. on w. 470-549. 



perque Cani quondam dictos de nomine campos 
in praedam centum noviens dimiserat hostes. 
iamque magister eras : Burconem dirigis illo 
exigua comitante manu, sed sufRcit istud 
cum pugnare iubes ; certa est victoria nostris 380 
te mandasse acies ; peragit fortuna triumphum 
non populo, sed amore tuo ; nolo agmina campo 
quo mittis paucos. felix te respicit iste 
eventus belli ; certatum est iure magistri, 
Augusti fato. nuper ferus hostis aperto 385 

errabat lentus pelago, postquam ordine vobis 
ordo omnis regnum dederat, plebs, curia, miles, 
et collega simul. Campanam flantibus Austris 
ingrediens terram securum milite Mauro 
agricolam aggreditur ; pinguis per transtra sedebat 
Vandalus opperiens praedam, quam iusserat illuc 391 
captivo capiente trahi. sed vestra repente 
inter utrumque host em dederant sese agmina planis 
quae pelagus collemque secant portumque reducto 
efficiunt flexu fluvii. perterrita primum 395 

385. ferus hostis ego. (Class. Qiuxrt. loc. cit.p. 19); cf. 7. 285: 
post hostis codd. 

386. postquam : simul C. 

^ Campi Canini, a north-Italian region, near Bilitio 
(Bellinzona), in the upper part of the Ticinus valley. 

* Majorian became magister militum on Feb. 27, 457. 

3 I have discussed the following passage in Class. Quart. 
XXVIII (1934), pp. 18 sqq. 

* See n. 5, p. 7 and n. on w. 9-12 of this poem. It 
seems clear that the reference here is to the formal accession 
on December 28, 457. The fight with the Vandals must have 
taken place in the following year, probably not many months 



nine hundred foemen to scour for booty the plains 
named long ago after Canius.^ By this time thou 
wert Master of the Forces ^ ; and thou didst send 
thither Burco \\Tith a band of followers, small indeed, 
but that suffices when thou bidst them fight ; 'tis 
certain victory for our troops when they go under 
thine orders ; Fortune brings about a triumph not 
through their numbers but through their love for 
thee. I crave no armies in a field to which thou 
sendest but a few men ! ^ The happy issue of that 
campaign is due to thee, for thou didst fight with yr^^^ 
the authority of a Master, but with the destiny of ; y^ k 
an Emperor. \ Lately, when the throne had been /'vJ 
bestowed on thee in due order by all orders— ^ ^-- 
commons, senate, army, and thy colleague too *— r" ]/^ 
a savage foe was roaming at his ease over the un- 
guarded sea. Under southerly breezes he invaded 
the Campanian soil and with his Moorish soldiery 
attacked the husbandmen when they dreamed not 
of danger; the fleshy Vandal sat on the thwarts 
waiting for the spoil, which he had bidden his cap- 
tives ^ to capture and bring thither. But of a sudden 
thy bands had thrown themselves between the two 
enemy hosts into the plains which sunder the sea 
from the hills and fashion a harbour where the 
river makes a backward curve. First the multitude 

before the Panegyric was delivered (see also v. 489 n.). The 
fight with the Alamanni related in the previous lines must have 
happened before December 28, 457, but not necessarily before 
April 1, as there is good ground for believing that Majorian 
remained technically a Magister Militum until his formal 
accession in December. The two latest editors have caused 
great confusion by punctuating after instead of before nujper 
in V. 385. 

' The Moors {y. 389), who had been subjugated by Geiseric. 



montes turba petit, trabibus quae clausa relictis 

praedae praeda fuit ; turn concitus agmine toto 

in pugnam pirata coit : pars lintre cavata 

iam dociles exponit equos, pars ferrea texta 

concolor induitur, teretes pars explicat arcus 400 

spiculaque infusum ferro latura venenuni, 

quae feriant bis missa semel. iam textilis anguis 

discurrit per utramque aciem, cui guttur adactis 

turgescit zephyris ; patulo mentitur hiatu 

iratam pictura famem, pannoque furor em 405 

aura facit quotiens crassatur vertile tergum 

flatibus et nimium iam non capit alvus inane. 

at tuba terrisono strepuit grave rauca fragore, 

responsat clamor lituis, virt usque repente 

ignavis vel parva furit. cadit undique ferrum, 410 

hinc tamen in iugulos : hunc torta falarica iactu 

proterit, ad mortem vix cessatura secundam ; 

hunc conti rotat ictus ; equo ruit aclyde fossus 

ille veruque alius ; iacet hie simul alite telo, 

absentem passus dextram ; pars poplite secto 415 

mortis ad invidiam vivit, partemque cerebri 

hie galeae cum parte rapit, fortique lacerto 

412. ^Toterit Luetjohann : pr(a)eterit. 

^ See n. on 2. 232. These standards in the form of dragons 
or serpents were made of cloth or of flexible skins, hollow inside, 
and with a silver mouth. When the wind blew in at the mouth 
they contorted themselves in a manner which suggested real 
serpents. The last line of the description is hard. I have 
followed an ingenious suggestion of Dr. Sample that inane 
means " air "; the use is much bolder than in an expression 
like vastum per inane {v. 246), but probably pleased Sidonius, 
as it enabled him to introduce one of his innumerable para- 
doxes (" cannot hold the emptiness"). Literally the words 



of plunderers flees in terror towards the mountains, 
and so, cut off from the ships they had left, they 
become the prey of their prey ; then the pirates 
are aroused and mass their whole forces for the 
battle. Some land their well-trained steeds in 
hollow skiffs, some don the meshed mail of like hue 
to themselves, some get ready their shapely bows 
and the arrows made to carry poison on the iron 
point and to wound doubly with a single shot. 
Now the broidered dragon ^ speeds hither and thither 
in both armies, his throat swelling as the zephyrs 
dash against it ; that pictured form with wide-open 
jaw counterfeits a wTathful hunger, and the breeze 
puts a frenzy into the cloth as often as the lithe 
back is thickened by the blasts and the air is now too 
abundant for the belly to hold. Now the trumpet's 
deep note sounds with terrific blast; a responsive 
shout greets the clarions, and even the puny spirit 
of cowards suddenly bursts into frenzy. From 
everywhere a shower of steel comes down, but 
from our side it comes down on the throats of the 
foe; a hurtling javelin lays one man in the dust, 
scarce to exhaust its force with a second victim; 
another man is sent spinning by the thrust of a pike ; 
one gashed by a harpoon, another by a lance, falls 
headlong from his horse ; yet another, flung down by 
a flying shaft, lies there, the prey of a hand beyond 
his ken ; some of them, with the thigh-sinews severed, 
live on to envy death ; again, a warrior sweeps off 
part of a foeman's brain and part of his helmet 
together, cleaving the hapless skull with two-edged 

mean " and the belly no longer has room for the excessive 
air," i.e. more air than the dragon's belly can hold blows in at 
the mouth. 



disicit ancipiti miserabile sinciput ense. 

ut primum versis dat tergum Vandalus armis, 

succedit caedes pugnae : discrimine nullo 420 

sternuntur passim campis, et fortia quaeque 

fecit iners. trepidante fuga mare pallidus intrat 

et naves pertransit eques, turpique natatu 

de pelago ad cymbam rediit. sic tertia Pyrrhi 

quondam pugna fuit : caesis cum milibus ilium 425 

Dentatus premeret, lacerae vix fragmina classis 

traxit in Epirum qui Chaonas atque Molossos, 

qui Thracum Macetumque manus per litora vestra 

sparserat et cuius vires Oenotria pallens 

ipsaque, quae petiit, trepidaverat uncta Tarentus. 430 

hostibus expulsis campum, qui maximus exstat, 

iam lustrare vacat ; videas hie strage sub ilia 

utrorumque animos : nullus non pectore caesus, 

quisquis vester erat ; nullus non terga foratus, 

illorum quisquis. clamant hoc vulnera primi 435 

praedonum turn forte ducis, cui regis avari 

narratur nupsisse soror, qui pulvere caeco 

clausus et elisus pilis vestigia turpis 

gestat adhuc probrosa fugae. sic agmina vestra 

cum spoliis campum retinent et Marte fruuntur. 440 

Interea duplici texis dum litore classem 
inferno superoque mari, cadit omnis in aequor 
silva tibi nimiumque diu per utrumque recisus, 
Appennine, latus, navali qui arbor e dives 
non minus in pelagus nemorum quam mittis aquarum. 

444. navali qui Mohr : navalique. 

^ The blackamoor turns pale again in v. 602. 

2 i.e. it is no longer a flat plain but a hill of corpses. 

^ The Adriatic and the Tuscan Sea. 



sword wielded by a strong arm. Soon as the Vandal 
began to turn and flee, carnage took the place of 
battle ; all were laid low promiscuously throughout 
the plain, and even the coward did the most doughty 
deeds. In their panic flight the horsemen plunged 
pallid ^ into the water and passed beyond the ships, 
then swam back in disgrace to their boats from the 
open sea. Like to this in olden days was the third 
fight of Pyrrhus : when Dentatus had slain thousands 
and pressed him sore, he scarce dragged some frag- 
ments of his shattered fleet to Epirus — he who had 
spread over thy shores bands of Chaonians and 
Molossians, Thracians and Macedonians, he at whose 
might Oenotria grew pale and luxurious Tarentum, 
that invited him, was herself dismayed. With the 
foe driven out there was freedom to survey the 
plain, which now stood up high.^ Here in that 
slaughtered pile could be discerned the spirit of each 
host : no man of thine but had been stricken in the 
breast, none of the foe who was not stabbed in the 
back. This truth is loudly proclaimed by the 
wounds of him who chanced on that day to be com- 
mander of the robbers, a man whom it is said the 
daughter of the greedy king had wedded ; enveloped 
by the blindly flying dust and crushed under a mass 
of pikes he still carried the infamous marks of a 
shameful flight. Thus thy battalions hold the field 
with all its spoils and reap the reward of their prowess. 
Meanwhile thou buildest on the two shores fleets for 
the Upper and the Lower Sea.^ Down into the water 
falls every forest of the Apennines ; for many a long 
day there is hewing on both slopes of those mountains 
so rich in ships' timber, mountains that send down 
to the sea as great an abundance of wood as of 



Gallia continuis quamquam sit lassa tributis, 446 

hoc censu placuisse cupit nee pondera sentit 

quae prodesse probat. non tantis maior Atrides 

Carpathium texit ratibus cum Doricus hostis 

Sigeas rapturus opes Rhoeteia clausit 450 

Pergama ; nee tantae Seston iuncturus Abydo 

Xerxes classis erat tumidas cum sterneret undas 

et pontum sub ponte daret, cum stagna superbo 

irrupit temerata gradu turmaeque frequentes 

Hellespontiaco persultavere profundo ; 455 

nee sic Leucadio classis Mareotica portu 

Actiacas abscondit aquas, in bella mariti 

dum venit a Phario dotalis turba Canopo, 

cum patrio Cleopatra ferox circumdata sistro 

milite vel piceo fulvas onerata carinas 460 

Dorida difFusam premeret Ptolomaide gaza. 

hoc tu non cultu pugnas, sed more priorum 

dite magis ferro, merito cui subiacet aurima 

divitis ignavi. tales ne sperne rebelles : 

etsi non acies, decorant tamen ista triumphos. 465 

nee me Lageam stirpem memorasse pigebit 

hostis ad exemplum vestri ; namque auguror hisdem 

regnis fortunam similem, cum luxus in ilia 

parte sit aequalis nee peior Caesar in ista. 

Ilicet aggrederis quod nullus tempore nostro 470 

467. isdem CTP. 

^ A timely hint to Majorian ! 

' pontum sub po7Ue : cf. 23. 44. 

' These lines describe the muster of Majorian's forces and 
the march over the Alps into Gaul. Modern historians 
{e.g. Hodgkin and Bury) absurdly imagine that the reference is 
to an expedition into Pannonia. The list of peoples in vv. 
474-477 is a lurid commentary on Rome's dependence upon 
foreign contingents to do her fighting, although Sidonius in- 
geniously turns a lamentable fact into a compliment to 
Majorian. The poet makes it abundantly clear that Majorian 



waters. Gaul , though wearied by unceasing tribute,^ 
is now eager to gain approval by a new levy for this 
end, and feels not a burden wherein she beholds a 
benefit. The elder son of Atreus did not cover the 
Carpathian Sea with so many ships when the Dorian 
foe, bent on seizing the wealth of Sigeum, beleaguered 
Rhoeteian Pergamum ; not so vast was the fleet 
that Xerxes had when he sought to link Sestos with 
Abydos and paved the swelling waters, setting a 
bridge over the breakers ,2 and with haughty step 
burst in upon the outraged flood, and his multi- 
tudinous squadrons pranced over the Hellespontine 
deep. Not so fully did the Mareotic fleet in Leucas' 
harbour hide the waters of Actium, when a multitude 
that was a woman's dower came from Egyptian 
Canopus to fight her husband's battles, and proud 
Cleopatra, with her country's sistrum girded upon 
her and her yellow boats loaded with pitch-black 
warriors, weighted the wide sea with the treasure 
of the Ptolemies. Thou dost not fight in this array, 
but rather as our forerunners did, with wealth of 
steel, w^hereto the wealthy coward's gold submits. 
Yet scorn not such troublers of the peace, for these 
splendours, though they grace not the ranks of battle, 
grace the pageantry of a triumph. And truly I shall 
never grieve to have mentioned the house of Lagos 
as prototype of thy foe ; for I forecast a like fate 
for these two kingdoms, since on their side the 
luxuriousness is equal, and on our side is a Caesar 
as good as there was then. 

2 Straightway thou dost attempt what no emperor 

began early in his reign to organise an army and a navy for 
an attack on Geiseric in Africa. The muster here described 
has that ultimate end in view, though the troubles in Gaul 
had first to be settled. See also n. on 364 sq. 



Augustus potuit : rigidum septemplicis Histri 
agmen in arma rapis. nam quidquid languidus axis 
cardine Sithonio sub Parrhase parturit Vrsa, 
hoc totum tua signa pavet ; Bastarna, Suebus, 
Pannonius, Neurus, Chunus, Geta, Dacus, Halanus, 
Bellonotus, Rugus, Burgundio, Vesus, Alites, 476 
Bisalta, Ostrogothus, Procrustes, Sarmata, Moschus 
post aquilas venere tuas ; tibi militat omnis 
Caucasus et Scythicae potor Tanaiticus undae. 
quid faciat fortuna viri ? quascumque minatur, 480 
has tremuit iam Roma manus ; modo principe sub te 
ne metuat prope parva putat, nisi serviat illi 
quod timuit regnante alio. 

Iam castra movebas 
et te diversis stipabant milia signis ; 
obsequium gens una negat, quae nuper ab Histro 485 
rettulit indomitum solito truculentior agmen 
quod dominis per bella caret, populoque superbo 
Tuldila plectendas in proelia suggerit iras. 
hie tu vix armis positis iterum arma retractas : 
Bistonides veluti Ciconum cum forte pruinas 490 

Ogygiis complent thiasis, seu Strymonos arvis 
seu se per Rhodopen seu qua nimbosus in aequor 
volvit Hyperboreis in cautibus Hismarus Hebrum 
dat somno vaga turba, simul lassata quiescunt 

^ The reference is almost certainly to the Huns. Tuldila is 
not mentioned elsewhere. 

2 i.e. soon after the battle described in w. 385-440. The 
mutiny obviously occurred in Italy, before the passage of the 
Alps. Presumably it affected only a part of the Hun 

2 " Thracian . . . Theban," a silly paradox; " Theban " 
here means little more than "' Bacchanalian." 



in our time has availed to do : thou dost carry off to 
war the frozen army of the seven-mouthed Danube. 
All the multitude that the sluggish quarter of the 
earth doth produce in the Sithonian region beneath 
the Arcadian bear fears thy standards ; Bastarnian, 
Suebian, Pannonian, Neuran, Hun, Getan, Dacian, 
Alan, Bellonotan, Rugian, Burgundian, Visigoth, 
Alites, Bisalta, Ostrogoth, Procrustian, Sarmatian, 
Moschan have ranged themselves behind thine 
eagles ; in thy service are the whole Caucasus and 
the drinker of the Don's Scythian waters. What 
shall such a hero's fortune accomplish ? Every band 
wherewith he now threatens others has at some 
time caused Rome to tremble ; but now under thy 
sovereignty she counts it almost a small thing to 
be free from fear, unless she also sees humbly at 
her service that which she feared when another 

Now thou wert moving thy camp, and around 
thee thronged thousands under divers standards. 
Only one race ^ denied thee obedience, a race 
who had lately, in a mood even more savage than 
their wont, withdrawn their untamed host from 
the Danube because they had lost their lords in 
warfare, and Tuldila stirred in that unruly multi- 
tude a mad lust of fighting for which they must 
needs pay dear. Hereupon, having scarce laid 
down thine arms ,2 thou takest them up again ; as 
when the Thracian women fill the fi'osty land of the 
Ciconians with Theban^ troops of revellers, and on 
the fields by the Strymon or over the slopes of 
Rhodope, or where cloudy Hismarus rolls Hebrus 
down amid the Hyperborean rocks to the sea, the 
roaming band give themselves up to sleep, and 



orgia et ad biforem reboat nee tibia flatum ; 495 

vix requies, iam f ponte ligant f rotat enthea 

Bassaris et maculis Erythraeae nebridos horrens 
excitat Odrysios ad marcida tympana mystas. 
tu tamen banc differs poenam, sed sanguinis auctor 
maioris, dum parcis, eras, non pertulit ultra 500 
hoc pro te plus cauta manus vestrumque pudorem 
sprevit pro vobis ; primi cadit hostia belli 
quisque rebellis erat. praedam quoque dividis illis, 
mens devota quibus fuerat : quae territa servit 
exemplo, gaudet pretio. Pharsalica Caesar 505 

arva petens subitas ferro compescuit iras ; 
sed sua membra secans, ut causae mole coactus, 
flevit quos perimit ; vestris haec proficit armis 
seditio : quodcumque iubes, nisi barbarus audit, 
hie cadit, ut miles timeat. 510 

lam tempore brumae 
Alpes marmoreas atque occurrentia iuncto 
saxa polo rupesque vitri siccamque minantes 
per scopulos pluviam primus pede carpis et idem 
lubrica praemisso firmas vestigia conto. 
coeperat ad rupis medium quae maxima turba est 
interno squalere gelu, quod colle supino 516 

artatis conclusa viis reptare rigenti 
non pot erat revoluta solo : fors unus ab illo 

496. sponte T : iam sponte vigens R. 31. Henry. 
bOl. ut ego {Class. Qvnrt. loc. cit. p. 19) : et. 

^ See n. on 2, 447. Things connected with Bacchus are, 
like the god himself, often associated with India. 

2 The famous mutiny of the Ninth Legion at Placentia, 
49 B.C. 

' i.e. ice. See n. on 2. 271. 



straightway the rout falls into wearied repose, and 
no longer does the breath awake a resounding note 
in the double pipe ; but scarce has rest begun, 
when ... an inspired Bassarid once more whirls 
the thyrsus, and, bristling in her dappled garb of 
Erythraean ^ fawn-skin, rouses the Odrysian votaries 
to beat the languid tabors. Yet thou didst put off 
the punishment of this offence ; but in sparing thou 
didst cause greater bloodshed; for a band of thy 
men, more careful of thy weal, could bear this crime 
no longer, and for thy sake spurned thy mildness, 
and the rebels fell one and all, victims offered at the 
war's beginning. Thou didst divide the spoil among 
those whose hearts had been true ; and these hearts, 
that trembled when they aided in the punishment, 
were cheered by their reward. Caesar, bound for the 
field of Pharsalia, stayed a mutinous outburst with the 
sword 2 ; yet as he thus cut off his own limbs, driven 
thereto by the compelling need of his cause, he wept 
for those he destroyed. But this rising was a benefit 
to thine arms ; henceforth whatever thine orders 
might be, if a barbarian hearkened not he fell, that 
the soldiers might fear. 

And now in winter thou didst thyself lead the 
way over the marble slopes of the Alps, over crags 
that rise to meet the sky, over rocks like glass and 
dry rain ^ resting amid threatening scaurs ; and 
with a lance thrust out before thee thou didst steady 
thy slipping feet. Half-way up the mountain the 
main part of thy force felt a chilling frost encrusting 
their very hearts, for confined in narrow paths on a 
hill-slope they could not clamber up the frozen face, 
but ever rolled back; then it came to pass that 
one of the column, a man whose wheels had in 



agmine, canentem cuius rota triverat Histrum, 
exclamat : ** gladios malo et soUemne quieta 520 

quod frigus de morte venit ; mea torpor inerti 
membra rigore ligat, quodam mihi corpus adustum 
frigoris igne perit. sequimur sine fine labori 
instantem iuvenem ; quisquis fortissimus ille est 
aut rex aut populus, castris modo clausus aprica 525 
vel sub pelle iacet ; nos anni vertimus usum. 
quod iubet hie lex rebus erit ; non flectitur umquam 
a coeptis damnumque putat si temporis iras 
vel per damna timet, qua dicam gente creatum 
quern Scytha non patior ? cuius lac tigridis infans 
Hyrcana sub rupe bibit ? quae sustulit istum 531 
axe meo gravior tellus ? en vertice summo 
algentes cogit turmas ac frigora ridet, 
dum solus plus mente calet. cum classica regis 
Arctoi sequerer, Romani principis arma 535 

Caesareumque larem luxu torpere perenni 
audieram : dominos nil prodest isse priores 
si rex hie quoque fortis erat." maiora parantem 
dicere de scopulo verbis accendis amaris : 
" quisquis es, oppositi metuis qui lubrica clivi, 540 
frange cutem pendentis aquae scalptoque fluento 
sit tibi lympha gradus. turpes depone querelas ; 
otia frigus habent. numquid mihi membra biformis 
Hylaei natura dedit ? num Pegasus alis 

537. isse] desse M. 

1 Cf. 2. 270. 

^ The word-play is made possible by the fact that damnum 
may mean " fault," " vice," as well as " loss." 



their time scoured the whitened Danube,^ ex- 
claimed: " I would rather have a sword-thrust and 
that common coldness that comes from a quiet 
death : numbness ties my limbs ^vith cramping stiff- 
ness, and my body is seared and consumed by the 
burning cold. We follow a young general that per- 
sists in toil without ceasing ; but even the bravest, 
whether king or people, is now enclosed in camp 
or fort or lies down under tents of skin in sunny 
places, while we pervert the uses of the year. 
What he orders will be a law to all creation. He is 
never turned from his enterprises, and he thinks his 
character is lost if even his losses make him fear the 
violence of the season. ^ Of what race must I pro- 
nounce him born, >vith whom I, a Scythian, cannot 
cope? What tigress gave suck to him in infancy 
under some Hyrcanian height ? What land more 
severe than mine own clime reared him? Lo! on 
the very summit he musters his chilled squadroas, 
and laughs at the cold, for he alone has in his soul a 
warmth that is stronger. When I followed the 
standards of a northern king I heard that the em- 
peror's arms and the house of the Caesars were 
sunk in unending luxury. It is no gain to me that 
my former lords are gone if, after all, there is here 
too a valiant king." He was ready to utter more 
violent words when thou, speaking from the crest, 
didst stir him with bitter taunts : " Whosoe'er thou 
art that fearest the slippery rise that confronts thee, 
break the skin of the hanging water, then dig into 
the flow and make the pool thy stepping-stone. Have 
done with thy base complaints ; idleness is the cause 
of cold. Did nature give me the limbs of double- 
bodied Hylaeus ? Did Pegasus help me with wings 



adiuvit, quidquid gradior, pennasque volanti 545 

dat Calais Zetusque mihi, quern ninguida cernis 
calcantem iam dorsa iugi ? vos frigora frangunt, 
vos Alpes ? iam iam studeam pensare pruinas ; 
aestatem sub Syrte dabo." sic agmina voce 
erigis exemploque levas primusque labores 550 

aggrederis, quoscumque iubes ; turn cetera paret 
turba libens, servit propriis cum legibus auctor. 

Qui tibi praeterea comites quantusque magister 
militiae, vestrum post vos qui compulit agmen, 
sed non invitum ! dignus cui cederet uni 555 

Sulla acie, genio Fabius, pietate Metellus, 
Appius eloquio, vi Fulvius, arte Camillus. 
si praefecturae quantus moderetur honorem 
vir quaeras, tendit patulos qua Gallia fines, 
vix habuit mores similes cui teste senatu 560 

in se etiam tractum commiserat Vlpius ensem. 
qui dictat modo iura Getis, sub iudice vestro 

^ i.e. in Africa, fighting against the Vandals. 

* This " Master of the Forces " cannot be the Patrician 
Ricimer. He may be either Nepotianus (father of the future 
emperor Julius Nepos), who seems to have obtained the rank 
of second magister under Avitus, or (less probably) Aegidius, 
who was mug. militum. per Gallias from 458 to 463 (according 
to the usual account : Stein, p. 560, thinks otherwise). The 
holder of this district-command had for some years been 
dignified with the title magister utriusque militiae ; the original 
title was mag. equitum per Gallias. See also n. on 7. 359 sqq. 

2 Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius (consul, 80 B.C.) received his 
extra surname owing to the strenuous efforts which he made 
to secure the recall of his father, Metellus Numidicus, from 



over the ground I tread ? Do I fly with plumage 
bestowed by Calais and Zethus — I, whom thou seest 
already trampling the snow-clad brow of this ridge ? 
Art thou overcome by the cold, by the Alps ? Then 
'tis time I sought to compensate thee for the frosts ; 
I will give thee a summer near the S)n'tes." ^ Thus 
dost thou brace thy troops with thy words and 
cheer them by thine example, ever the first to essay 
whatever tasks thou dost order; and the others 
willingly obey when the lawgiver makes himself 
the servant of his own laws. 

And what a staff thou hadst, and what a Master 
of the Forces ! ^ He it was who pushed on the line 
of men behind thee — ^right willing men, 'tis true. 
To him, of all men, Sulla might well have given 
precedence in fighting, Fabius in talent, Metellus ^ 
in filial loyalty, Appius in eloquence, Fulvius * in 
energy, Camillus in skill. And if it should be asked 
how great is the man who wields the Prefect's ^ 
office where Gaul extends her wide lands — he is a 
man scarce equalled in goodness by him to whom, 
with the senate as witness, Trajan entrusted a 
drawn sword to be used even against himself.^ 
Under thy judge he who now gives laws to the 
Goths — ^he, our skin-clad foe — doth respect the 

* Q. Fulvius Flaccus (consul in 237, 224, 212, and 209 B.C.), 
a great general. Along with Ap. Claudius Pulcher he took 
Capua in 212 B.C. 

^ The new Praetorian Prefect of Gaul was Magnus. See n. 
on 23. 455. 

• It is related that Trajan, on handing to a praetorian 
prefect the sword which was the badge of his office, said, 
" Take this, to be used in my defence if I act well, against me 
if I act ill." (Aur. Vict. Goes. 13, Cass. Dio LXVIII. 16. 1 ; cf. 
Plin. Pan. 67.) 



pellitus ravum praeconem suspicit hostis. 

quid loquar hie ilium qui scrinia sacra gubernat, 

qui, cum civilis dispenset partis habenas, 565 

sustinet armati cur as, interpret e sub quo 

flectitur ad vestras gens efFera condiciones ? 

quid laudare Petrum parvis, temeraria Clio, 

viribus aggrederis ? cuius dignatur ab ore 

Caesar in orbe loqui, licet et quaestore diserto 570 

polleat ; attamen hie nuper, placidissime princeps, 

obside percepto nostrae de moenibus urbis ,) . 

visceribus miseris insertum depulit ensem. ' /'' 

et quia lassatis nimium spes unica rebus 

venisti, nostris, petimus, succurre ruinis 575 

Lugdunumque tuam, dum praeteris, aspice victor : 

otia post nimios poscit te fracta labores. 

cui pacem das, redde animum : lassata iuvenci 

cervix deposito melius post sulcat aratro 

telluris glaebam solidae. bove, fruge, colono, 580 

civibus exhausta est. stantis fortuna latebat ; 

dum capitur, vae quanta fuit ! post gaudia, princeps, 

563. suscipit ZCi'P. 

^ The reference is obviously to Theodoric II, but it is mere 
hyperbole or sanguine prophecy. The Gallic rising had roused 
the Visigoths to war, and it was not tiU the following year, 
when Aegidius drove them back from the walls of Aries, that 
they submitted and made a treaty with Majorian. ludice 
refers to the praetorian prefect, as head of the judicature. 
There may have been a truce with Theodoric at the time when 
the Panegyric was deHvered. It is also possible that there were 
some Visigoths in the conquered garrison of Lugdunum. The 
variant reading suscijpit in v. 563 might possibly mean " is 

1 10 


hoarse-voiced usher of the court. ^ Why tell here of 
him who controls the Sacred Bureau,^ who, while 
he guides the reins of a civil office, supports also the 
cares of a man-at-arms ; with whom as spokesman a 
wild race is won over to your terms ? ^ But why, 
my rash Muse, dost thou essay with thy puny 
strength to praise Petrus ? Through his lips Caesar 
deigns to speak all over the world, although he hath 
also a tower of strength in his eloquent quaestor ; * 
nay, this man lately, O most gracious Emperor, took 
hostages and thrust off from the walls of our city 
the sword that had been driven into our hapless flesh. 
And since thou hast come hither as the only hope 
for our exhausted fortunes, we pray and beseech thee, 
save our ruins, and, as thou passest on, let thine 
eye survey thy Lugdunum in thine hour of victory ; 
broken, she asks thee for rest after toils too great 
to bear. Give fresh heart to her to whom thou 
givest peace. When the steer's neck is wearied he 
will afterwards furrow the solid clods all the better 
if the plough is laid aside for a time. The town is 
drained of her oxen, her provender, her farmers, 
her citizens. In her days of strength her fortune 
was unnoticed, but in the hour of her capture, alas, 
how great it was ! When joy has come, my 

adopting," i.e. he is copying the Roman legal procedure in his 
own domain; but suspicit is almost certainly right. 

2 As Imperial secretary (magister epistularum) Petrus (on 
whom see 3. 6 n.) controlled one of the three great bureaux of 
the civil service. 

^ The Burgundians, who had been received into Lugdunum 
by the Gallo-Roman insurgents. 

* The quaestor was probably Domnulus, who is mentioned 
as a poet in 14 §2; cf. Epist. IX. 13. 4, IX. 15. 1 carm. 38. 
Lpist. TV. 25 is addressed to him. On the quaestor sacri Palatii 
as mouthpiece of the Emperor see n. on 1 . 25. 



delectat meminisse mali. populatibus, igni 

etsi concidimus, veniens tamen omnia tecum / ,;^i/ 

restituis : fuimus vestri quia causa triumphi, L/ 585 

ipsa ruina placet, cum victor scanSere currum 

incipies crinemque sacrum tibi more priorum 

nectet muralis, vallaris, civica laurus 

et regum aspicient Capitolia fulva catenas, 

cum vesties Romam spoliis, cum divite cera 590 

pinges Cinyphii captiva mapalia Bocchi, 

ipse per obstantes populos raucosque fragores 

praecedam et tenui, sicut nunc, carmine dicam 

te geminas Alpes, Syrtes te, te mare magnum, 

te freta, te Libycas pariter domuisse catervas, 595 

ante tamen vicisse mihi. quod lumina flectis 

quodque serenato miseros iam respicis ore, 

exsultare libet : memini, cum parcere velles, 

hie tibi vultus erat ; mitis dat signa venustas. 

annue : sic vestris respiret Byrsa tropaeis, 600 

sic Parthus certum fugiat Maurusque timore 

albus eat ; sic Susa tremant positisque pharetris 

exarmata tuum circumstent Bactra tribunal. 

^ Pictures or models of conquered places were often exhibited 
in Roman triumphal processions. Bocchus is used as a typical 
name of a north-African king. 



Emperor, 'tis pleasant to remember the evil days. 
Prostrated though we are by devastation and by 
fire, thou by thy coming dost restore all things ; 
and since we were the cause of thy triumph, our 
very fall is pleasing. When thou shalt step into the 
victor's chariot and after the manner of our fore- 
fathers the mural, castrensian and civic crowns shall 
entwine thy sacred hair, and the golden Capitol 
shall behold kings in chains ; when thou shalt clothe 
Rome with spoils and shalt depict in costly wax the 
captured huts of some African Bocchus,^ then I 
myself will walk before thee amid the obstructing 
throngs and the clamour of hoarse shouts, and in 
my puny strain, as now, I will tell how thou hast 
subdued two Alpine ranges ,2 the Syrtes, the Great 
Sea, the narrower waters, and the Libyan hordes; 
but first I will tell how thou didst conquer for my 
benefit. I am fain to leap for joy that thou dost 
turn thine eyes and already regardest the unfortunate 
with brightened countenance. I remember well, 
when thou wert minded to be merciful, such was 
ever thy- look; a benign graciousness gives the 
sign. Grant my prayer : so may Byrsa ^ draw breath 
again through thy victories ; so may the Parthian 
flee in good earnest and the Moor go his way white 
with fear ; so may Susa tremble and the Bactrians 
lay aside their quivers and stand disarmed around 
thy tribunal ! 

* The Alps and the Pyrenees. Majorian was going to 
proceed to Spain. 
3 2. :r)i n. 





Pallados armisonae festum diim cantibus ortum 

personal Hismario Thracia vate chelys, 
et dum Mopsopium stipantur per Marathonem 

qui steterant fluvii quaeque cucurrit humus, 
dulcisonum quatitur fidibus dum pectine murmur, 5 

has perhibent laudes laude probasse deam : 
" diva, Gigantei fudit quam tempore beUi 

armatus partus vertice dividuo, 
quam neque DeUacis peperit Latona sub antris, 

fixura errantem Cyclada pignoribus, 10 

nee quae Cadmeis pariens Alciden in oris 

suspendit tripHci nocte puerperium, 
nee cuius pluvio turris madefacta metallo est, 

cum matrem impleret filius aurigena : 
sed te, cum trepidum spectaret Phlegra Tonantem, 

impuht excussam vertice ruptus apex ; 16 

cumque deos solae traherent in proelia vires 

confusum valde te sine robur erat : 
protulit ut mox te patrius, Sapientia, vertex, 

tum mage vicerunt, te cum habuere dei. 20 

te propter cessit, manibus constructa tremendis, 

iam prope per rutilum machina tensa polum. 

^ The Ismarian (Thracian) bard is Orpheus. 

2 The meaning of this absurdity will be clear from 2. 70- 
74 and 23. 185-194. 

^ i.e. Attic. 

* When Leto (Latona), fleeing from the persecution of 
Hera (Juno), reached the floating island of Delos, it suddenly 
became stationary. There Artemis (Diana) and Apollo were 





While the Thracian lyre in the hands of the 
Ismarian ^ bard celebrated in ringing song the 
glorious birth of Pallas with her clashing arms ; while 
rivers that stood and earth that ran 2 were thronging 
close in Mopsopian ^ Marathon, and the quill twanged 
out its sweet notes on the strings, the goddess, 'tis 
said, commended with her praise these praises ; 
" Hail, divine one, whom a birth full-armed sent 
forth from the opened head at the time of the giant- 
war, whom Latona bore not in the depths of the 
Delian cave, fain to fix the wandering Cyclad for 
her offspring s sake * ; no, nor she who in bringing 
forth Alcides in the land of Cadmus delayed her 
travail for three nights, nor she whose tower was 
steeped in the rain of metal, when the gold-begotten 
son began to cumber his mother ; but while Phlegra ^ 
beheld the Thunderer alarmed, the crown of his 
head burst open and thou wert shot forth from its 
sunmiit; and as brute force and naught else was 
impelling the gods to battle, their might without 
thee had been sorely confounded; but after thy 
father's head had brought thee forth, O goddess of 
Wisdom, then the gods, with thee to aid, were 
victorious as ne'er before. Thanks to thee that 
great pile gave way which was built by those 
dread hands and at last well-nigh pierced the 

• The plains of Phlegra were the scene of the battle between 
gods and giants. 



Pindus, Othrys, Pholoe dextris cecidere Gigantum, 

decidit et Rhoeti iam gravis Ossa manu. 
sternitur Aegaeon, Briareus, Ephialta Mimasque, 25 

Arctoas sueti lambere calce rotas. 
Enceladus patri iacuit fratrique Typhoeus ; 

Euboicam hie rupem sustinet, hie Sieulam." 
Hine sese ad totam genetricem transtulit Orpheus 

et doeuit chordas dicere Calliopam. 30 

assurrexerunt Musae sub laude sororis 

et placuit divae carmine plus pietas, 
quod si maternas laudes cantasse favori est 

nee valeo priseas aequiperare fides, 
publicus hie pater est, vovi cui carmen, Avitus : 35 

materia est maior si mihi Musa minor. 



Phoebe, peragrato tandem visurus in orbe 
quem possis perferre par em, da lumina eaelo : 
sufficit hie terris. nee se iam signifer astris 

VI 30. decuit MPTF. 

^ The snaky extremities of the giants, ending in mouths 
instead offset, are treated with elaborate absurdity in 9. 76-87. 



flaming firmament. Pindus, Othrys, and Pholoe fell 
from the grasp of the giants ; down at last fell 
ponderous Ossa from Rhoetus' hand; Aegeon was 
laid low, and Briareus and Ephialtes and Mimas, 
who were wont to lick the northern Wain with their 
feet.^ Enceladus fell by thy father's hand, Typhoeus 
by thy brother's ; and now the one supports an 
Euboean^ mountain, the other a Sicilian." 

Then Orpheus changed his theme, making his 
mother the whole burden of his song, and teaching 
the strings to hymn Calliope. The Muses rose in 
homage at this praise of their sister, and the goddess 
was gladdened even more by a son's devotion than 
by his song. But if it is well pleasing to' sing a 
mother's praises, and if I lack the power to match 
the ancient lyre, yet in Avitus, to whom I have 
vowed my song, we have here tho^ father of his people, 
and though my muse be weaker, my theme is 



O Sun-god, now at last in the circle of thy wander- 
ings thou canst see one that thou art able to brook 
as thine equal ; so give thy rays to heaven, for he 
is sufficient to Hghten the earth. Nor need the 

* A far-fetched epithet. Typhoeus was buried under the 
island of Inarime (Verg. Aen. IX. 716, Lucan V. 101), the 
modem Ischia, near " Euboean " Cumae (Verg. Aen. VI. 2). 
According to another version he, like Enceladus, was buried 
under Etna. 

' Jan. 1, A.D. 456. See Introd., p. xxxvii. 


VOL. I. Q 


iactet, Marmaricus quern vertice conterit Atlans : 
sidera sunt isti. quae sicut mersa nitescunt, 5 

adversis sic Roma micat, cui fixus ab ortu 
ordo fuit crevisse malis. modo principe surgit 
consule ; nempe, patres, collates cernere fasces 
vos iuvat et sociam sceptris mandasse curulem : 
credite, plus dabitis : currus. iam necte bifrontes, 10 
anceps lane, comas duplicique accingere lauro. 
principis anterior, iam consulis iste coruscat 
annus, et emerita trabeis diademata crescunt. 
incassum iam, Musa, paves quod propulit Auster 
vela ratis nostrae ; pelago quia currere famae 15 
coepimus, en sidus, quod nos per caerula servet. 

Forte pater superum prospexit ab aethere terras : 
ecce viget quodcumque videt ; mundum reparasse 
aspexisse fuit ; solus fovet omnia nutus. 
iamque ut conveniant superi, Tegeaticus ales 20 

nunc plantis, nunc fronte volat. vix contigit arva 
et toto descendit avo : mare terra vel aer 
indigenas misere deos. germane Tonantis, 

7. surgit M : surget. Vid. Class. Qiuirt. loc. cit. p. 19. 
20. ales Bitschofsky : archas. 
21-23. dist. ego ; vid. Class. Quart, ib. ; cf. 7. 360 sq. 

^ Marmarictis is used by poets for "African"; cf. 11. 103, 
23. 56. Marmarica lay between Egypt and the Greater 
Syrtes, and was therefore far from the Atlas range. In 5. 
337, Marmarides is used in its strict sense, and in v. 448 
below the Marmaricans are distinguished from the Massylians, 
another north- African people. 

2 See 5. 63 n. 

^ "double," because it encircles two brows. 

* For the meaning of trabea see n. on XV. 150 sq. 

^ Mercury. Tegeaticus means no more than ' ' Arcadian " : 
see n. on 1. 7. The " feet " and the " brow " aUude to the 
wings attached to his sandals and to his forehead. According 



Zodiac, that is grazed by the head of Marmaric^ 
Atlas, make boast of its constellations ; for this man 
also hath his stars, and as stars sink only to shine 
forth once more, so doth Rome's light flash forth 
out of her calamities ; since from her very beginning 
it hath been her fixed destiny to grow greater 
by misfortunes. 2 Now she begins to rise once more 
with an emperor for consul. Surely, O Senators, it 
delights you to see the fasces of two dignities com- 
bined and to think that ye have assigned a curule 
chair to bear the sceptre company ! Believe me, ye 
shall yet give more — a triumphal chariot ! Now 
bind, O two-headed Janus, the locks of thy twin 
brows, encircling them with a double ^ wreath of 
laurel. Last year was illustrious as the emperor's, 
this year is glorious as the consul's ; and the diadem 
that has served us so well is enhanced by the state 
robes of a magistrate.* Now, O Muse, idle is the 
fear thou dost feel because the breeze hath driven 
out to sea the sails of my bark ; as I have begun to 
speed over the ocean of fame — behold the star that 
is to protect me throughout the blue expanse ! 

It chanced that the father of the gods looked forth 
from heaven upon the earth. Lo ! whatever he 
beholds is quickened ; to view the world is to renew 
it ; his mere nod revives all things. Thereupon, to 
bid the gods assemble, the winged god of Tegea ^ 
speeds his flight now with his feet, now with his 
brow. Scarce has he descended the whole length 
of his grandfather ® and touched the fields when 
sea, earth, and air send their native divinities. First 

to another idea the second pair of wings was attached to his 
hat (petasus). 

« Atlas: cf. Verg. A en. IV. 258. For the fusion of the god 
with his domain cf. 2. 333 and 426-8, 22. 41-46. 



prime venis, viridi qui Dorida findere curru 
suetus in attonita spargis cito terga serenum ; 25 

umentes Nymphas Phorcus comitatur ibique 
glaucus, Glauce, venis, vatum et certissime Proteu, 
certus eras, longo veniunt post ordine divi : 
pampineus Liber, Mars trux, Tirynthius hirtus, 
nuda Venus, fecunda Ceres, pharetrata Diana, 30 
luno gravis, prudens Pallas, turrita Cybebe, 
Saturnus profugus, vaga Cynthia, Phoebus ephebus, 
Pan pavidus, Fauni rigidi, Satyri petulantes. 
convenere etiani caelum virtute tenentes. 
Castor equo, Pollux caestu, Perseius harpe, 35 

fulmine Vulcanus, Tiphys rate, gente Quirinus. 
quis canat hie aulam caeli, rutilantia cuius 
ipsa pavimentum sunt sidera ? 

lam pater aureo 
tranquillus sese solio locat, inde priores 
consedere dei (fluviis quoque contigit illo, 40 

sed senibus, residere loco, tibi, maxime fluctu 
Eridane et flavis in pocula fracte Sygambris, 
Rhene tumens, Scythiaeque vagis equitate catervis 
Hister et ignotum plus notus, Nile, per ortum) : 
cum procul erecta caeli de parte trahebat 45 

35. Perseius def. Brakman : turn Perseus Mohr, Danaeius 

* Colour-names in ancient literature are notoriously 
vague; a good example of this is found in 10. 5 sq., where 
first viridis and then caeruleus is applied both to Nereus and 
to his dress. In 15. 132 the dress of Glaucus is called viridis. 
The adjective glaucus, unhke caeruleus, is never appHed to 
the deep blue of the sky, but there is regularly an element 
of blue in its connotation. It is applied to the sea and other 
expanses of water, to water- deities, to plants (especially, 
like Greek yXavKos, to the grey-green of the ohve), to the 



comes the Thunderer's OAvn brother, who, accus- 
tomed as he is to cleave the sea with his green 
chariot, now quickly spreads calm over the amazed 
surface. Phorcus comes with the dripping nymphs, 
Glaucus too, green as his name ^ ; Proteus also, 
surest of seers, was there in sure presence.^ After 
them comes a long array of divine beings ; Liber, 
lord of the vine, fierce Mars, the shaggy hero of 
Tiryns, naked Venus, fruitful Ceres, Diana with her 
quiver, staid Juno, wise Pallas, tower-crowned Cybele, 
Saturn the exile, fair young Phoebus, pavid Pan, 
the uncouth Fauns, the wanton Satyrs. There also 
assembled those that inhabit heaven by virtue of 
their prowess — Castor by the steed, Pollux by the 
boxing-glove, Perseus by the scimitar, Vulcan by the 
thunderbolt, Tiphys by the ship, Quirinus by his 
people. WTio could sing here below of heaven's 
great hall, whose floor the flaming stars themselves 
compose ? 

Now the great Father serenely sat him down on 
his golden throne ; then the chiefest gods took their 
seats (and even to the rivers, such of them as are 
aged, the right to be seated in that place has been 
given, — Eridanus, mightiest in his torrent, the 
swelling Rhine, that the yellow-haired Sygambrian 
breaks to fill his cups, Danube, crossed on horseback 
by Scythia's nomad hordes, and Nile, known all the 
better for his unknown source). Lo ! afar, from a 
lofty tract of sky, came Rome, dragging her slow 

human eye (5. 240), and to many other things (including 
animals). No uniform translation is possible; such words as 
" blue," " green," "blue-green" (the meaning here), "blue- 
grey," " grey -green " will serve at various times. A full Hst 
of citations is now available in the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. 
* i.e. not in one of his numerous disguises (Semple, p. 88). 



pigros Roma gradus, curvato cernua collo 
ora ferens ; pendent crines de vertice, tecti 
pulvere, non galea, clipeusque impingitur aegris 
gressibus, et pondus, non terror, fertur in hasta. 
utque pii genibus primum est adfusa Tonantis, 50 
" tester, sancte parens," inquit, *' te numen et illud, 
quidquid Roma fui : summo satis obruta fato 
invideo abiectis ; pondus non sustinet ampli 
culminis arta domus nee fulmen vallibus instat. 
quid, rogo, bis seno mihi vulture Tuscus haruspex 55 
portendit ? iaciens primae cur moenia genti 
ominibus iam eels a fui, dum collis Etrusci 
fundamenta iugis aperis mihi, Romule pauper ? 
plus gladio secura fui cum turbine iuncto 
me Rutulus, Veiens pariterque Auruncus et Ae- 
quus, 60 

Hernicus et Volscus premerent. sat magna videbar 
et tibi dum rumpit vitiatum femina ferro 
corpus et ad castum remeas, pudor erute, vulnus. 
iam cum vallatam socio me clausit Etrusco 
Tarquinius : pro Muci ignes ! pro Coclitis undae ! 65 
pro dolor ! hie quonam est qui sub mea iura redegit 
Samnitem, Gurges, Volsci qui terga cecidit, 
Marcius, et Senones fundens dictator et exul? 
Fabricii vitam vellem, mortes Deciorum, 
vel sic vincentem vel sic victos : mea redde 70 

^ For similar utterances on the perils of greatness and the 
blessed security of a low estate see commentators on Hor. C. 
II. 10. 9-12, VoUmer on Stat. Silv. II. 7. 90. 

^ Cf. 357 sq. The twelve vultures which appeared to 
Romulus were interpreted as portending a duration of twelve 
centuries for Rome. According to the usual dating of the 
foundation of the city this period ended in a.d. 447, In the 
middle of the fifth century many people recalled the old 
augury with superstitious dread. See Gibbon, c. 35, last par. 



steps along, with neck bent and head bowed ; her hair 
hung Umply down, covered not with a hehnet but with 
dust ; at each feeble step her shield knocked against 
her, and in her spear there was no terror, but 
only heaviness. Flinging herself at the feet of 
gracious Jove she cried : " O holy Father, I call thee 
to witness — thee and that divinity of other days, all 
that I, Rome, have been: wholly overwhelmed by 
my exalted fortune, I envy the very outcast; a 
narrow house has not a spacious roof to support, and 
the lowly vales are not harassed by the lightning.^ 
What, pray, did the Tuscan seer foretell for me 
from the twelve vultures ? ^ Why is it that when 
but beginning to build walls for my infant people I 
was already raised on high by omens of greatness, 
when Romulus in his poverty dug foundations for 
me on the ridge of the Tuscan hill ? Through my 
sword I knew greater safety than now, when in a 
massed hurricane Rutulian, Veientine, Aequian, 
Hernican, and Volscian bore down upon me. Mighty 
enough I seemed even to thee when the woman 
stabbed with the knife her sullied body, and her 
ravished honour returned with that chaste wound.^ 
Tarquin with his Etruscan ally shut me within my 
new-built rampart. Alas for the fire that Mucius, 
the water that Horatius braved! Woe is me! 
Where is there here a Gurges * — the man who 
brought the Samnite under my sway? Where the 
Marcius who cut down the flying Volscian, or he 
who routed the Senones, a dictator and an exile ?^ 
Would that I had Fabricius as he lived, the Decii as 
they died, victory such as his or defeat like theirs : 

' Lucretia. * Q. Fabius Maximus Gurges. 

* Camilltis : cf. 2. 526 sq. 



principia. heu ! quo nunc pompae ditesque triumphi 
et pauper consul ? Libycum mea terruit axem 
cuspis et infido posui iuga tertia Poeno. 
Indorum Ganges, Colchorum Phasis, Araxes 
Armeniae, Ger Aethiopum Tanaisque Getarum 75 
Thybrinum tremuere meum. me Teutone iuncto 
quondam fracte subis Cimber, gladiisque gravatas 
ante manus solas iussi portare catenas, 
vae mihi ! qualis eram, cum per mea iussa iuberent 
Sulla, Asiatogenes, Curius, Paulus, Pompeius 80 

Tigrani, Antiocho, Pyrrho, Persae, Mithridati 
pacem ac regna, fugam, vectigal, vincla, venenvun. 
Sauromatem taceo ac Moschum solitosque cruentum 
lac potare Getas ac pocula tingere venis 
vel, cum diffugiunt, fugiendos tum mage Persas. 85 
nee terras dixisse sat est : fulgentibus armis 
tot maria intravi duce te longeque remotas 
sole sub occiduo gentes. victricia Caesar 
signa Caledonios transvexit ad usque Britannos ; 
fuderit et quamquam Scotum et cum Saxone Pictum, 
hostes quaesivit, quem iam natura vetabat 91 

quaerere plus homines, vidit te frangere Leucas, 
trux Auguste, Pharon, dum classicus Actia miles 
stagna quatit profugisque bibax Antonius armis 
incestam vacuat patrio Ptolomaida regno. 95 

80. fort. Asiatogenes Luetjohann : Asiagenes. 

81. Perseo Luetjohann : perso (perse M) codd. 

82. ac add. ego : aw et ? patria regna Mohr. 

^ The correspondences are : Sulla, Mithridates, poison (a 
flagrant inaccuracy); Asiaticus, Antiochus, tribute; Curius, 



give me back my beginnings ! Alas ! Where now 
are those pageants, those triumphs rich of a consul 
poor? My spears affrighted Libya's clime, and I 
laid the yoke even a third time upon the faithless 
Carthaginian. Ganges of the Indian, Phasis of the 
Colchian, Araxes of Armenia, Ger of the Ethiopians, 
Tanais of the Getae, all trembled before my Tiber. 
I bethink me too of the Cimbrian and the leagued 
Teuton shattered of old, when I ordered hands till 
then loaded with the sword to caiTy naught but chains. 
Alas for what I was when at my bidding Sulla, 
Asiaticus, Curius, Paulus, Pompeius demanded of 
Tigranes, Antiochus, Pyrrhus, Perseus, and Mithri- 
dates peace and realms, banishment, tribute, chains, 
and poison ! ^ I say naught of the Sauromatians or 
of the Moschans or of the Getae, whose wont it is 
to drink bloody milk and stain their cups with 
severed veins ; or of the Persians,^ most to be shunned 
when they shun the foe. Nor is it enough to speak 
of the land alone, for with thee to guide me 1 have 
entered many a sea and nations far away under the 
setting sun. Caesar took his victorious legions over 
even to the Caledonian Britons, and although he 
routed the Scot, the Pict and the Saxon, he still 
looked for foes where nature forbade him to look 
any more for men. Leucas saw the fierce Augustus 
shatter Egypt, when the warriors of the fleet shook 
the waters of Actium and the tippler Antonius by the 
rout of his arms ousted the unclean daughter of the 
house of Ptolemy from her ancestral kingdom. And 

Pyrrhus, flight; Paulus, Perseus, chains; Pompeius, 
Tigranes, peace and realms (the latter referring perhaps to 
the two provinces of Sophene and Gordyene). 
' i.e. The Parthians. 



cumque prius stricto quererer de cardine mundi, 
nee limes nunc ipsa mihi. plus, summe deorum, 
sum iusto tibi visa potens quod Parthicus ultro 
restituit mea signa Sapor positoque tiara 
funera Crassorum flevit dum purgat. ethinciam 100 
(pro dolor !) excusso populi iure atque senatus 
quod timui incurri ; sum tota in principe, tota 
principis, et fio lacerum de Caesare regnum, 
quae quondam regina fui ; Capreasque Tiberi 
et caligas Gai Claudi censura secuta est 105 

et vir morte Nero ; tristi Pisone verendum 
Galbam sternis, Otho, speculo qui pulcher haberi 
dum captas, ego turpis eram ; mihi foeda Vitelli 
intulit ingluvies ventrem, qui tempore parvo 
regnans sero perit ; lassam post inclitus armis 110 
Vespasianus habet, Titus hinc, post hunc quoque 

frater ; 
post quem tranquillus vix me mihi reddere Nerva 
coepit, adoptivo factus de Caesare maior ; 
Vlpius inde venit, quo formidata Sygambris 
Agrippina fuit, fortis, pius, integer, acer. 115 

talem capta precor. Traianum nescio si quis 
aequiperet, ni fors iterum tu, Gallia, mittas 

^ i.e. " the precincts of my own city are not intact " 
(Semple, p. 89). 

2 Phraates IV : see n. on 2. 457. 

' i.e. successive Caesars are reducing Rome's dominion 
more and more. 

* A reference to the nickname Caligula (=httle mihtary 
boot) given to Gains in his boyhood by the soldiers, becauise 
he went about the barracks dressed like a soldier. For the 
allusions to Claudius and Otho in this passage see nn. on 5. 
322 sq. 


I, who complained aforetime that the world's limits 
were too narrow, am now not even a boundary to 
myself.^ O chiefest of the gods, I seemed to thee 
more powerful than is meet, inasmuch as the Parthian 
Sapor 2 freely restored my standards and, laying 
aside his royal tiara, wept for the deaths of the 
Crassi as he made atonement therefor. And hence 
now, woe is me ! I have fallen upon the fate I 
feared, after wresting their rights from senate and 
people ; I am merged in the Emperor, wholly the 
Emperor's property, and through Caesar I who 
was once a queen am becoming a mangled realm.^ 
Tiberius with his Capri and Gaius with his soldier's 
boots* were followed by Claudius with his censor- 
ship and Nero, who in death played the man ; Galba, 
to whom the stern Piso gave a claim to reverence, 
was laid low by Otho, who, while he sought by his 
mirror to seem beautiful, made me ugly. Then 
Mtellius, with his loathsome gluttony, thrust his 
paunch upon me, and though he reigned but a short 
time he perished all too late. Thus sore wearied 
was I when Vespasian, famed man of war, possessed 
me, and after him Titus, after Titus his brother; and 
after him the tranquil Nerva scarce began to make me 
myself again, — Nerva, who made himself greater by 
the Caesar he adopted. Then came Trajan, by whose 
doing Agrippina ^ became a terror to the Sygam- 
brians, an emperor gallant, faithful, righteous and 
vigorous. In my captivity I pray for such another. 
I know not if anyone can match Trajan — unless 
perchance Gaul should once more^ send forth a man 

* Colonia Agrippina (Cologne). 

* Trajan was a native of Spain, which was now included in 
the " Prefecture of the Gauls." 



qui vincat." lacrimae vocem clausere precantis, 
et quidquid superest luctus rogat. undique caeli 
assurgunt proceres, Mars, Cypris, Romulus et qui 120 
auctores tibi, Roma, dei ; iam mitior ipsa 
flectitur atque iras veteres Saturnia donat. 

luppiterista refert : " Fatum, quo cuncta reguntur 
quoque ego, non licuit frangi. sat celsa laborant 
semper, et elatas nostro de munere vires 125 

invidit Fortuna sibi ; sed concipe magnos, 
quamquam fracta, animos. si te Porsenna soluto 
plus timuit de ponte fremens, si moenia capta 
mox Brenni videre fugam, si denique dirum 
Hannibalem iuncto terrae caelique tumultu 130 

reppulimus (cum eastra tuis iam proximia muris 
starent, Collina fulmen pro turre cucurrit, 
atque illic iterum timuit natura paventem 
post Phlegram pugnare lovem) : torpentia tolle 
lumina, detersam mentem caligo relinquat. 135 

te mirum est vinci ; incipies cum vincere, mirum 
non erit. utque tibi pateat quo surgere tandem 
fessa modo possis, paucis, cognosce, docebo. 

" Est mihi, quae Latio se sanguine tollit alumnam, 
tellus clara viris, cui non dedit optima quondam 140 
rerum opifex natura parem ; fecundus ab urbe 
126. fortuna M : natura. 
128. fremens M : tremens. 

^ The Roman army was encamped between the Colline and 
Esquiline Gates when Hannibal approached Rome (Livy 
XXVI. 10. 1); the battlemented Colline Gate is called 
Collina turris also by Juvenal (VI. 291) and Claudian {Gild. 
86). Livy mentions the blinding storms of rain and hail, 
which occurred on two consecutive days {ib. 11. 2 sq.), but 
makes no mention of lightning; Sidonius probably borrowed 
this (and not only this) from the grandiose description by 
Silius (XII. 605-728; cf. XIII. 15-20). Cf. Juv, VII. 163. 

2 See n. on 6. 15. 



who should even surpass him." Tears choked the 
suppliant's voice, and her grief served for what 
remained of her petition. On all sides the chiefs of 
heaven rise in her honour, Mars, Venus, Romulus 
and the gods that made Rome great ; even Saturn's 
daughter is moved to greater gentleness and forgoes 
her ancient wrath. 

Then answered Jupiter : " Fate, whereby all 
things — yea, I myself — are governed, might not be 
violated. Whatever has reached its highest bourne 
must needs be afflicted, and Fortune hath grudged 
to aid a power that hath been exalted by my bounty. 
But broken though thou art, be of right good cheer. 
If Porsenna feared thee more than ever when he 
raged indignant at the severing of the bridge, if the 
walls that Brennus captured soon saw his flight, if, 
last of all, we drove back Hannibal with a wild out- 
burst from earth and sky alike (his camp already stood 
nigh to thy walls when in front of the Colline tower a 
thunderbolt rushed down,^ and Nature feared that 
there once again, as in Phlegra's ^ combat, Jove was 
fighting in terror), raise thy drooping eyes, let the 
dark mist be wiped away and vanish from thy soul. 
'Tis a marvel that thou shouldst be conquered, but 
when thou beginnest to conquer, 'twill be no marvel. 
And now, that it may be plain to thee how thou 
mayest rise again, worn out as thou art, hearken 
and I will declare it in few words. 

" I have a land which carries its head high as 
sprung from Latin blood,^ a land famed for its men, 
a land to which Nature, the blessed creator of all 
things, vouchsafed no peer in days gone by. 

' This claim of the Arvemi is mentioned in Lucan I. 427 sq,, 
a passage recalled by Sidonius in Epist. VII. 7. 2. 


poUet ager, primo qui vix proscissus aratro 
semina tarda sitit vel luxuriante iuvenco 
arcana exponit piceam pinguedine glaebam. 
assurrexit huic, coxit quod torridus Auster, 145 

Niliacum Libycumque solum, collataque semper 
arida Mygdoniae damnarunt Gargara falces ; 
Apulus et Calaber cessit. spes unica rerum, 
banc, Arverne, colens nuUi pede cedis in armis, 
quosvis vincis equo. testis mihi Caesaris esto 150 
hie nimium Fortuna pavens, cum coUe repulsus 
Gergoviae castris miles vix restitit ipsis. 
hos ego tam fortes volui, sed cedere Avitum 
dum tibi, Roma, paro, rutilat cui maxima dudum 
stemmata complexum germen, palmata cucurrit 155 
per proavos, gentisque suae te teste, Philagri, 
patricius resplendet apex, sed portio quanta est 
haec laudum, laudare patres, quos quippe curules 
et praefecturas constat debere nepoti ? 
sint alii per quos se postuma iactet origo, 160 

et priscum titulis numeret genus alter : Avite, 

^ Proscindere is the technical term for the first ploughing. 
Here no further ploughing is required, so the oxen have a lazy 
time. [This explanation of luxuriante is given by Dr. Semple, 
p. 91.] 

* The Patrician Philagrius to whom Avitus was related is 
no doubt the man mentioned in Epist. II. 3. 1 as a remote 
ancestor of our poet's old schoolfellow, Magnus Felix (see n. 
on Carm. 9. 1). He cannot be the Philagrius to whom Epist. 
VII. 14 is addressed, but he may be the one mentioned in Carm. 
24. 93. Modern authorities treat the two (or three) men as 

* i.e. their distinctions came to them because it was ordained 
that a descendant should be Emperor; it was his destined 



From the city extend rich and fruitful fields; 
scarce are they cloven with the early ploughing ^ 
when they thirst for the tardy seeds, and while 
the ox enjoys luxurious ease they display clods 
made black by some fatness mysteriously at work. 
To this soil the tilth of Nile and Libya, baked by 
the scorching south wind, hath yielded pride of 
place, and Gargarus, compared with such land, hath 
always been condemned by Phrygian sickles as 
withered ; the Apulian and the Calabrian have like- 
wise owned defeat. O Arvernian, who dwellest 
therein, sole hope for the world, thou yieldest to 
none when thou fight est on foot, and on thy steed 
thou art a match for any man! Let Fortune, 
Caesar's attendant goddess, be my witness, who 
was sore dismayed in this land when his warriors 
were forced back from Gergovia's hill and scarce 
halted their flight at their very camp. I ordained 
that these men should be thus gallant, but all the 
time I was making ready, O Rome, to present to 
thee A Vitus, whose natal tree, rich in noble branches, 
hath long shone illustrious, whose forefathers 
have time after time been adorned with the palm- 
decked robe, and whose race, as Philagrius bears 
witness, is iiTadiated by a Patrician's dignity. ^ But 
how small a part of his meed of praise is such praise 
of his forefathers, who manifestly owe their curule 
rank and prefectures to their descendant ! ^ There 
may be others of whom the later scions of their race 
will make boast ; another may recount the ancient 
honours of his line ; but thou alone, Avitus, dost 

greatness that was the real cause of their dignities. Thus it is 
he who ennobles his ancestors, not his ancestors who ennoble 
him {v. 162). 


nobilitas tu solus avos. libet edere tanti 
gesta viri et primam paucis percurrere vitam. 

" Solverat in partum generosa puerpera casti 
ventris onus ; manifesta dedi mox signa futuri 165 
principis ac tot am fausto trepidi patris aulam 
implevi augurio. licet idem grandia nati 
culparet fata et pueri iam regna videret, 
sed sibi commissum tanto sub pignore cernens 
mundi depositum, ne quid tibi, Roma, periret, 170 
iuvit fortunam studio, lactantia primum 
membra dedit nivibus, glaciemque inrumpere plantis 
iussit et attritas parvum ridere pruinas. 
surgentes animi Musis formantur et illo 
quo Cicerone tonas ; didicit quoque facta tuorum 175 
ante ducum ; didicit pugnas libroque relegit 
quae gereret campo. primus vix coeperat esse 
ex infante puer, rabidam cum forte cruentis 
rictibus atque escas ieiuna fauce parantem 
plus catulis stravlt (fuerant nam fragmina prop- 
ter) 180 
arrepta de caute lupam, fractusque molari 
dissiluit vertex et saxum vulnere sedit. 
sic meus Alcides, Nemeae dum saltibus errat, 
occurrit monstro vacuus, non robora portans, 
non pharetras ; stetit ira fremens atque hoste pro- 
pinquo 185 
consuluit solos virtus decepta lacertos. 
" Parva quidem, dicenda tamen : quis promptior isto 

167. sq. dist. ego ; vid. Class. Quart, loc. cit. pp. 19 sq. 
185. fremens Buechder et Wilamowitz: tremens codd. 



ennoble thy forefathers. Fain am I to relate the 
deeds of this great man and in few words to run 
through his earliest years. 

" His noble mother had been released from her 
chaste travail; anon I gave plain tokens of the 
emperor that was to be, and filled with happy augury 
the whole palace of the anxious father. He, 'tis 
true, murmured at his son's high destiny, already 
seeing his boy a sovereign ; nevertheless, discerning 
in this great pledge the whole world's trust com- 
mitted to his keeping, he seconded fortune's bounty 
by his own diligence, lest thou, O Rome, shouldst 
suffer loss. First he surrendered the suckling's limbs to 
the snows ; he compelled him while a little child to 
break the ice with his feet and to laugh at the frost 
as he trod it down. His growing mind was moulded 
by the Muses and by the Cicero that bestows on 
thee tones of thunder ; he learned also the deeds of 
thy leaders of former days ; he learned of battles 
and read in the vvritten page what he should per- 
form in the field. Scarce had he changed infancy 
for boyhood when, seeing a she-wolf ravening with 
bloody jaws agape as with hungry mouth she sought 
food, chiefly for her cubs, he snatched a stone (for 
there were pieces of rock hard by) and laid her low. 
Shattered by the boulder her head split open, and the 
stone sank down in the wound. Even so my Hercules, 
as he roamed the glens of Nemea, faced the monster 
empty-handed, carrying neither club nor quiver ; in 
raging wrath he took his stand, and with the enemy 
nigh that brave spirit, taken unawares, looked for 
aid to naught but his own strong arms. 

" Small things, yet worthy to be told are these : — 
Who was quicker than he to lower to the scent the 



tensa catenati summittere colla Molossi 
et lustris recubare feras interprete nare 
discere non visas et in aere quaerere plantas ? 190 
iam si forte suem latratibus improbus Vmber 
terruit, albentes nigro sub gutture lunas 
frangere ludus erat colluctantique lacerto 
vasta per adversas venabula cogere praedas. 
quam pulchrum, cum forte domum post lustra re- 
vertens 195 

horrore splenderet apri virtusque repugnans 
proderet invitum per fortia facta pudorem ! 
sic Pandioniis castae Tritonidos arvis 
Hippolytus roseo sudum radiabat ab ore, 
sed simul a gemino flagrans cum Cressa furore 200 
transiit adfectu matres et fraude novercas. 

" Quid volucrum studium, dat quas natura rapaces 
in vulgus prope cognatum ? quis doctior isto 
instituit varias per nubila iungere lites ? 
alite vHncit aves, celerique per aethera plausu 205 
hoc nuUi melius pugnator militat unguis. 

" Nee minus haec inter civilia iura secutus 
eligitur primus, iuvenis, solus, mala fractae 
alliget ut patriae poscatque informe recidi 
vectigal. procerum tum forte potentior illic, 210 
post etiam princeps, Constantius omnia praestat, 

* Hounds. 

* " Pandionian " means " Attic," from Pandion, king of 
Athens, father of Procne and Philomela. "Tritonis" means 
Pallas Athena ; of. 15. 179. ^ Falconry. 

* Sidonius makes it clear that Constantius was not yet 
Emperor. He does not actually say that Constantius was in 
Gaul at the time, and some have supposed that the embassy 
went to Ravenna, where Constantius was persuaded to use his 
influence with Honorius. But the description of Constantius 
as potentior illic seems to imply that he was commanding in 



taut necks of the leashed Molossians,i to learn by the 
guidance of their nostrils that wild beasts he could not 
see were lurking in the den, and to seek for tracks in 
the air ? Again, if haply the irrepressible Umbrian 
hound frightened a boar by his barking, it was sport 
to this lad to smash the white crescents under the 
monster's black throat and with straining arm to 
drive a huge spear through the confronting quarry. 
What a beautiful sight when, returning home from 
the chase, he would appear all the more resplendent 
for the boar's bristling hideousness, and his gallantry 
in its own despite baulked his shrinking modesty 
by this evidence of brave deeds ! Thus in the 
Pandionian fields of chaste Tritonis ^ was Hippolytus 
wont to diffuse a sunny radiance from his glowing 
countenance — though it was then that the Cretan 
woman, fired by a double frenzy, overpassed a 
mother's love and a stepmother's guile. 

" \Vhat of his devotion to the birds that nature 
creates to prey upon the common throng of creatures 
almost their kin ? ^ Who more skilfully trains them 
to clash in divers contests amid the clouds ? With a 
bird he vanquishes birds ; with a swift whirring 
through the upper air the warrior claw fights for 
none more gallantly than for him. 

" And amid these sports he followed the law none 
the less, and, young though he was, he was chosen 
first and alone to bind up the wounds of his shattered 
homeland and to make claim for the abolishment of 
a hideous tax. It chanced that Constantius * was 
chief lord in those parts — he who anon was emperor ; 

Gaul. It is indeed quite probable that patriae (209) refers to 
Auvergne. We learn from Greg. Tur. II. 9 that the " generals 
of Honoriua " acted with great severity towards the supporters 


indole defixus tanta et miratus in annis 

parvis grande bonum vel in ore precantis ephebi 

verba senis. 

" Ducis hinc pugnas et foedera regum 
pandere, Roma, libet. variis incussa procellis 215 
bellorum regi Getico tua Gallia pacis 
pignora iussa dare est, inter quae nobilis obses 
tu, Theodore, venis ; quem pro pietate propinqui 
expetis in media pelliti principis aula 
tutus, Avite, fide, probat hoc iam Theudoris 

altum 220 

exemplum officii, res mira et digna relatu, 
quod fueris blandus regi placuisse feroci. 
hinc te paulatim praelibat sensibus imis 
atque nimis vult esse suum ; sed spernis amicum 
plus quam Romanum gerere. stupet ille repul- 

sam 225 

et plus inde places, rigidum sic, Pyrrhe, videbas 
Fabricium, ingestas animo cum divite fugit 
pauper opes, regem temnens, dum supplice censu 
pignus amicitiae vili mendicat ab auro. 
224. nimis Mohr : animis. 

of Jovinus in the land of the Arvernians, but Sidonius can 
scarcely be alluding to such an early date (Jovinus fell in 
A.D. 413). Constantius was so often and so long in Gaul that 
we cannot fix the reference with any certainty. If the vectigal 
was a tax levied by the government, only the Emperor could 
remit it, and we must then suppose that Avitus persuaded 
Constantius to use his influence with Honorius to that end. 
It may, however, refer to the requisitions for the pay and 
provisioning of the army (annona militaris). 

^ The Theodoras here mentioned is not otherwise known. 
It is scarcely likely that he is the man mentioned in Epist. 
III. 10. 1. The Gothic king is Theodoric I (419-451). It is 
thought that the hostages referred to here were given to him 
on the occasion of his treaty with the Romans which gave him 



and he granted all that was asked, marvelling at 
such great talent and astonished at such full-grown 
virtue in those boyish years, at such elderly speech 
on the lips of the suppliant youth. 

" And now, O Rome, I would fain relate the battles 
wherein he commanded and the compacts he made 
with kings. Thy land of Gaul, buffeted by divers 
tempests of war, was bidden to give to the Gothic 
king sureties of peace, and among them, a noble 
hostage, went Theodorus.^ Avitus, in loving duty 
to his kin, sought him out in the midst of the skin- 
clad monarch's court, and his loyalty won him safety. 
Theodoric soon looked with favour on this sublime 
devotion. Marvellous indeed is it and worthy to be 
recorded that by thy gentle winsomeness, Avitus, 
thou didst find grace with a fierce king. I^ittle by 
little he began to know thee in his inmost soul, and 
he desired exceedingly to have thee as one of his 
own; but thou didst scorn to act the friend rather 
than the Roman. The king marvelled at this rebuff, 
but esteemed thee all the more for it. Even thus 
did Pyrrhus see Fabricius immovable, when that 
poor man with rich soul shunned the riches thrust 
upon him, despising the king in that he made his 
wealth play the suppliant and begged with paltry 
gold for a bond of friendship. 

sovereignty over Aquitanica Secunda and Novempopulana 
(Introd., p. xvii). This is possible if we accept one of the two 
dates usually given for that agreement (426 and 430), but 
not if, with Stein (p. 482), we place it in 439. The giving 
of hostages does not necessarily imply that the Gothic king- 
dom was now independent ; see Stein, loc. cit., n. 3. See also 
n. on 495 sqq. Some eminent historians {e.g. Mommsen) have 
erred seriously through ignorance of the meaning of expetis 
(t). 219). In Sidonius and other late Latin ^v^ite^s this verb 
often means " seek out," " visit." 



." Aetium interea, Scythico quia saepe duello est 230 
edoctus, sequeris ; qui, quamquam celsus in armis, 
nil sine te gessit, cum plurima tute sine illo. 
nam post luthungos et Norica bella subacto 
victor Vindelico Belgam, Burgundio quem trux 
presserat, absolvit iunctus tibi. vincitur illic 235 
cursu Herulus, Chunus iaculis Francusque natatu, 
Sauromata clipeo, Salius pede, falce Gelonus, 
vulnere vel si quis plangit cui flesse feriri est 
ac ferro perarasse genas vultuque minaci 
rubra cicatricum vestigia defodisse. 240 

" Inlustri iam tum donatur celsus honore. 
squameus et rutilis etiamnunc livida cristis 

232. tute L. Mueller : tu. 
238. feriri C«i^: perire. 

* It is important to note that interea is often used in poetry 
to introduce a new action subsequent to, not contempor- 
aneous with, the events just described. For this use in Virgil 
see D. W. Reinmuth in Amer. Journ. Phil. LIV. (1933), pp. 
323-339, especiaUy 328-330. "Meanwhile" is often ^ a 
misleading translation. 

2 The Huns were for years the mainstay of Aetius' army, 
and "Scythian warfare" in all probabihty means war waged 
by means of Hunnish forces. It is scarcely likely that the 
meaning is "hostilities with the Goths" (n. on 5. 219), which 
had apparently gone on with little intermission from about 
A.D. 425 to 430, and in which Aetius had played an important 
part. The details are obscure, though it is certain that 
Theodoric made at least one unsuccessful attempt to take 

3 The luthungi were subdued by Aetius in a.d. 430; the 
contest with the Noricans and the Vindelicians no doubt took 
place in the course of the same expedition. All modern 
authorities infer from this passage that Avitus took part in 
the campaign against the luthungi and their neighbours, but 
Sidonius does not say so, 

* The Burgundians rose in a.d. 435 and were crushed in 



" Anon ^ thou didst follow Aetius, because he 
had learnt many a lesson from the Scythian war- 
fare 2 ; and he, glorious in arms though he was, did 
no deed without thee, though thou didst many 
without him. For when he had finished with the 
luthungi 3 and the war in Noricum, and had subdued 
the Vindelicians, thereafter in partnership with thee 
did he deliver the Belgians, whom the fierce Bur- 
gundian had harassed.* There the Herulian found 
in thee his match in fleetness, the Hun in javelin- 
throwing, the Frank in swimming, the Sauromatian 
in use of shield, the Salian in marching, the Gelonian 
in wielding the scimitar ; and in bearing of wounds 
thou didst surpass any mourning barbarian ^ to whom 
wailing means self-wounding and tearing the cheeks 
with steel and gouging the red traces of scars on his 
threatening face. 

" Even thus early this hero was glorified by 
bestowal of the title of Illustrious.^ Wearing his 
scale-armour, his face still bearing the mark of the 

the following year. It is obvious from this passage that 
Roman forces were used in the campaign; Bury (I. 249) 
must be wrong in thinking that the Huns were put in 
independent charge of it. 

' The construction is vel (= et) vtUnere (" in the matter of a 
wound") vincitur (" is surpassed") si quia (= quisquis) plangit. 

* The viri inlustres were the highest class of the senatorial 
order. As Avitus had not yet held any of the high offices 
of state which gave a right to the title, it must have been 
bestowed as an honorary distinction. It is somewhat surprising 
to find a Gallo-Roman reaching that dignity at such an early 
stage in his career. It is obvious that in this period he held a 
high military rank, and the Prefectship which soon followed 
shows that he was already a marked man. But as the Praetorian 
Prefect became inlustris as a matter ol course, one is tempted 
to suspect that Sidonius has antedated the conferment of the 
title on Avitus. 



ora gerens vix arma domum sordentia castris 

rettulerat : nova bella iterum pugnamque sub ipsis 

iam patriae muris periurus commovet hostis. 245 

Litorius Scythicos equites turn forte subacto 

celsus Aremorico Geticum rapiebat in agmen 

per terras, Arverne, tuas ; qui proxima quaeque 

discursu, flammis, ferro, feritate, rapinis 

delebant, pacis fallentes nomen inane. 250 

huius turn famulum quidam truculentior horum, 

mox feriende, feris ; ruit ille et tristia fata 

commendat domino absenti partemque futuram 

vindictae moriens Stygium spe portat ad amnem. 

et iam fama viro turres portasque tuenti 255 

intuitu pa\idae plebis perfert scelus actum. 

excutitur, restat, pallet, rubet, alget et ardet, 

ac sibimet multas vultum variata per unum 

ira facit fades, vel, qui mos saepe dolenti, 259 

plus amat extinctum ; tandem prorumpit et arma, 

arma fremit, pinguisque etiamnum sanguine fertur 

lorica, obtusus per barbara vulnera contus 

atque sub assiduis dentatus caedibus ensis. 

includit suras ocreis capitique micantem 

imponit galeam, fulvus cui crescit in altum 265 

conus et iratam iaculatur vertice lucem. 

et iam scandit equum vulsisque a cardine portis 

emicat ; adsistunt socio Virtusque Dolorque 

et Pudor : armatas pilo petit impiger alas 

245. periurus Wilamoimtz : periturus. 

^ Celsus may mean " made glorious." 

^ For the conquest of the Aremoricans by Litorius and his 
subsequent march against the Goths, who were besieging 
Narbonne, see Introd., p. xvi. The present passage refers to 
a lawless body of Hunnish auxiliaries, no doubt detached from 
the main body of Litorius 's forces. 



burnished helmet, scarce had he brought home his 
stained arms from the field when there came fresh 
wars and a battle this time under the very walls of 
his own city, stirred up by a faithless foe. Litorius, 
elated ^ by the conquest of the Aremoricans,^ was 
hurrying his Scythian horsemen against the Gothic 
host through the land of the Arvernian, and they 
with raid and fire and sword and barbarity and 
pillage were destroying all things near them, betray- 
ing and making void the name of peace. A servant 
of Avitus was wounded by one of these, more savage 
than his fellows, soon to be wounded in turn; the 
victim fell, and falling conunended his woeful fate to 
the vengeance of his absent master, and as he died 
he carried ^vith him to the Stygian stream a hopeful 
foretaste of the revenge that w^as to come. Now 
Rumour brought knowledge of the dastard deed to 
our leader as he kept his ward of towers and gates, 
regardful of the scared populace. He starts, halts, 
grows pale, grows red, grows cold and hot; his 
anger in its changing phases takes many forms in 
that one countenance, and, as is oft the mourner's 
way, he loves the lost one more than ever. At 
length he dashes forward, shouting again and again 
for his arms, and they bring him his corselet, still 
clotted with gore, his lance blunted by wounds dealt 
upon the barbarians, and his sword notched by 
unceasing slaughter. He cases his legs in greaves 
and puts upon his head a gleaming helmet, whereon 
a golden crest-base rises aloft, darting an angry 
flash from on high. Next he mounts his charger, 
and tearing the gates from their hinges rushes 
forth; Valour and Grief and Honour range them- 
selves with their ally; eagerly he charges with his 



pugnando pugnam quaerens, pavidumque per ag- 
men 270 

multorum interitu compensat quod latet unus. 
sic Phrygium Emathia victorem cuspide poscens 
Aeacides caeso luctum frenavit amico, 
per mortes tot, Troia, tuas (nam vilia per se 
agmina) contentus ruere strictumque per amplos 275 
exserere gladium populos ; natat obruta tellus 
sanguine, dumque hebetat turba grave caedua telum 
absens in cuncto sibi vulnere iam cadit Hector, 
proditus ut tandem tanti qui causa tumultus, 
inquit Avitus : * Age, Scythica nutrite sub Arcto, 
qui furis et caeso tantum qui fidis inermi, 281 

congredere armato. multum tibi praestitit ira 
iam mea : concessi pugnam iubeoque resistas ; 
certantem mactasse iuvat.' sic fatur et aequor 
prosilit in medium, nee non ferus advenit hostis. 285 
ut primum pectus vel comminus ora tulere, 
hie ira tremit, ille metu. iam cetera turba 
diversis trepidat votis variosque per ictus 
pendet ab eventu. sed postquam prima, secunda 
tertiaque acta rota est, venit ecce et celsa cruen- 
tum 290 

perforat hasta virum, post et confinia dorsi 
cedit transfosso ruptus bis pectore thorax, 
et dum per duplicem sanguis singultat hiatum 
dividua ancipitem carpserunt vulnera vitam. 

273-5. dist.ego. 

274. nam ego dubitanter : iam. 

^ i.e. fighting his way through the ranks in order to meet 
the hiding murderer. 

2 Achilles after the slaying of Patroclus by Hector. 



pike the armed ranks, seeking a fight by fighting,^ 
and amid the fear-stricken throng he makes the death 
of many pay for the absence of the one that lurks 
concealed. Even so did the scion of Aeacus,^ rang- 
ing with his spear in search of the Phrygian victor, 
hold back his mourning when his friend was slain, 
content to rush in a tide of death-dealing among 
Troy's host (for in themselves he counted those 
hordes as naught), and to wield the drawn sword 
through multitudinous throngs ; the ground was 
submerged and swam in blood, and as the falling 
ranks blunted his heavy weapon he saw already in 
every wound he dealt the absent Hector fall. When 
at last he who was the cause of that great havoc 
stood revealed, then said Avitus : ' Ho ! thou fellow 
reared 'neath the Scythian Bear, who ragest like a 
madman and hast such boldness from slaying the 
unarmed, come, meet one who is armed! Already 
my wrath has allowed thee a great boon; I have 
granted thee a fight, and I bid thee stand thy 
ground; I choose to slaughter a resisting foe.' 
Thus he spake, and bounded forth into the midst of 
the plain; and the barbarous foe likewise came. 
When first they approached, breast to breast and 
face to face, the one shook with anger, the other with 
fear. Now the general throng stands in sore sus- 
pense, with prayers on this side or on that, and as 
blow follows blow they hang on the issue. But when 
the first bout, the second, the third have been 
fought, lo ! the upraised spear comes and pierces 
the man of blood ; his breast was transfixed and 
his corselet twice split, giving way even where it 
covered the back ; and as the blood came throbbing 
through the two gaps the separate wounds took 
away the life that each of them might claim. 



" Haec post gesta viri (temet, Styx livida, tester) 
intemerata mihi praefectus iura regebat ; 296 

et caput hoc sibimet solitis defessa ruinis 
Gallia suscipiens Getica pallebat ab ira. 
nil prece, nil pretio, nil milite fractus agebat 
Aetius ; capto terrarum damna patebant 300 

Litorio ; in Rhodanum proprios producere fines 
Theudoridae fixum, nee erat pugnare necesse, 
sed migrare Getis. rabidam trux asperat iram 
victor ; quod sensit Scythicum pro moenibus hostem, 
imputat ; et nil est gravius, si forsitan umquam 305 
vincere contingat, trepido. postquam undique nul- 
praesidium ducibusque tuis nil, Roma, relictum est, 
foedus, Avite, novas ; saevum tua pagina regem 
lecta domat ; iussisse sat est te, quod rogat orbis. 
credent hoc umquam gentes populique futuri ? 310 
littera Romani cassat quod, barbare, vincis. 
iura igitur rexit ; namque hoc quoque par fuit, ut tum 
assertor fieret legum qui nunc erit auctor, 
ne dandus populis princeps, caput, induperator, 
Caesar et Augustus solum fera proelia nosset. 315 

" lam praefecturae perfunctus culmine tandem 
se dederat ruri (numquam tamen otia, numquam 
desidia imbellis, studiumque et cura quieto 
armorum semper) : subito cum rupta tumultu 

^ The prefecture of Avitus began in a.d. 439, the year in 
which Litorius was defeated near Toulouse (Introd., pp. xvif., 
and it seems to have lasted for some years. Litorius, though 
finally defeated, inflicted heavy losses on the Goths, and 
it was perhaps this fact, as much as the diplomacy of Avitus, 
that persuaded the king to come to terms with the 



" After these valiant deeds (I call even thee, dark 
Styx, to witness) he was my prefect,^ administering 
the laws without corruption. Gaul when she re- 
ceived him as her head was worn out with the familiar 
devastation and pale with affright at the Gothic 
wrath. Aetius was broken ; naught could he do by 
prayer or bribe or with his soldiers; and when 
Litorius was captured the destitution of the land stood 
revealed. Theodoric was resolved to advance his 
own boundaries to the Rhone, and the Goths needed 
not to fight, but only to migrate. The fierce victor 
whetted his raging wrath ; he counted it a sin against 
him that he had known the presence of the Scythian 
foe 2 before his walls, and naught is more grievous 
than a frightened man if he ever chance to be 
victorious. When there was no support anywhere 
and no resource, O Rome, was left to thy leaders, 
Avitus renewed the treaty ; the reading of his scroll 
subdued the king ; Avitus had but to order that which 
the world begged for. Will future races and peoples 
ever believe this ? — a Roman's letter annulled a 
barbarian's conquests. So he administered the laws ; 
for this also was fitting, that at that time he should 
become the champion of the laws who will now be 
their maker, lest he who was to be given to the 
peoples as prince, head, emperor, Caesar, and 
Augustus should have no knowledge save of savage 

" Now he had discharged the prefect's majestic 
office, and he had devoted himself to country life 
(though never with him was there idleness or unwar- 
like sloth, but even in those peaceful days arms were 
ever his study and his care) — when suddenly the bar- 

* The Huns under Litorius. 



barbaries totas in te transfuderat Arctos, 320 

Gallia, pugnacem Rugum comitante Gelono 
Gepida trux sequitur ; Scirum Burgundio cogit ; 
Chunus, Bellonotus, Neurus, Bastarna, Toringus, 
Bructerus, ulvosa vel quern Nicer alluit unda 
prorumpit Francus ; cecidit cito secta bipenni 325 
Hercynia in lintres et Rhenum texuit alno ; 
et iam terrificis diffuderat Attila turmis 
in campos se, Belga, tuos. vix liquerat Alpes 
Aetius, tenue et rarum sine milite ducens 
robur in auxiliis, Geticum male credulus agmen 330 
incassum propriis praesumens adfore castris. 
nuntius at postquam ductorem perculit, Hunos 
iam prope contemptum propriis in sedibus hostem 
exspectare Getas, versat vagus omnia secum 
consilia et mentem curarum fluctibus urget. 335 

tandem nutanti sedit sententia celsum 
exorare virum, coUectisque omnibus una 
principibus coram supplex sic talibus infit : 
' orbis, Avite, salus, cui non nova gloria nunc est 
quod rogat Aetius, voluisti, et non nocet hostis ; 340 
vis : prodest. inclusa tenes tot milia nutu, 
et populis Geticis sola est tua gratia limes ; 
infensi semper nobis pacem tibi praestant. 
victrices, i, prome aquilas ; fac, op time, Chunos, 

336. nutanti M : cunctanti. 

1 The incursion of Attila and his hordes gathered from many 
nations, a.d. 451. The support of the Visigoths was vital to 
the Romans. Avitus certainly made a good ambassador, 
but the probability is that Theodoric acted largely from self- 
interest, already detecting Attila's intention to push his con- 
quests beyond the Loire. 

2 The Bellonoti (Balloniti, or perhaps BaUonoti, in Val. 
Flacc. VI. 161) were a Sarmatian people. For the other 
peoples here mentioned, see Hodgkin II. 106 If. 



barian world, rent by a mighty upheaval, poured the 
whole north into Gaul.^ After the warlike Rugian 
comes the fierce Gepid, with the Gelonian close by ; 
the Burgundian urges on the Scirian ; forward rush the 
Hun, the Bellonotian,^ the Neurian, the Bastarnian, 
the Thuringian, the Bructeran, and the Frank, he 
whose land is washed by the sedgy waters of Nicer.^ 
Straightway falls the Hercynian forest, hewn to make 
boats, and overlays the Rhine with a network of its 
timber ; and now Attila with his fearsome squadrons 
has spread himself in raids upon the plains of the 
Belgian. Aetius had scarce left the Alps, leading 
a thin, meagre force of auxiliaries without legion- 
aries, vainly with ill-starred confidence expecting 
that the Gothic host would join his camp. But 
tidings came that struck the leader with dismay ; 
in their own land were the Goths awaiting the Huns, 
a foe they now almost despised. Perplexed, he 
turned over every plan, and his mind was beset with 
surging cares. At length in his wavering heart was 
formed the fixed resolve to make appeal to a man of 
high estate ; and before an assemblage of all the 
nobles he thus began to plead : ' Avitus, saviour of 
the world, to whom it is no new glory to be besought 
by Aetius, thou didst wish it, and the enemy no 
longer does harm ; * thou wishest it, and he does 
good. All those thousands thou dost keep within 
bounds by thy nod ; thine influence alone is a barrier- 
wall to the Gothic peoples ; ever hostile to us, they 
grant peace to thee. Go, display the victorious 
eagles ; ^ bring it to pass, O noble hero, that the Huns, 

» The Neckar. 

* See w. 30&-311. 

' i.e. in order that the Gothic soldiers may rally to them. 



quorum forte prior fuga nos concusserat olim, 345 
bis victos prodesse mihi.' sic fatur, et ille 
pollicitus votum fecit spem. protinus inde 
avolat et famulas in proelia concitat iras. 
ibant pellitae post classica Romula turmae, 
ad nomen currente Geta ; timet aere vocari 350 

dirutus, opprobrium, non damnum barbarus horrens. 
hos ad bella trahit iam tum spes orbis Avitus, 
vel iam privatus vel adhuc. sic cinnama busto 
collis Erythraei portans Phoebeius ales 
concitat omne avium vulgus ; famulantia currunt 355 
agmina, et angustus pennas non explicat aer. 
" Iam prope fata tui bis senas vulturis alas 
complebant (scis namque tuos, scis, Roma, labores) : 
Aetium Placidus mactavit semivir amens ; 
vixque tuo impositum capiti diadema, Petroni : 360 
ilico barbaries, nee non sibi capta videri 
Roma Getis tellusque suo cessura furori ; 
raptores ceu forte lupi, quis nare sagaci 
monstrat odor pinguem clausis ab ovilibus auram, 
irritant acuuntque famem portantque rapinae 365 

^ i.e. by serving in the Roman ranks : cf. prodest, v. 341. 
The meaning is that the Huns serving under Litorius had by 
their flight before the Goths caused a Roman disaster (a.d. 
339) : now a second defeat of the Huns will put them once more 
at the service of Rome. 

2 Aere diruius (Cjc. Verr. II. 5. 33, etc.) was applied to a 
soldier whose pay was stopped as a punishment. 

^ A play on the two meanings of privatus : Avitus was 
now privatus ("out of office"; his Prefectship was over) 
or still privatus {i.e. a subject : he was soon to become 
Emperor). For the latter meaning of privatum cf. v. 593 

* See nn. on 2. 417 and (for Eryth.) 2. 447. 
^ See V. 55 n. 

* See 5. 305 sqq. n. Placidus was one of the names of 



whose flight aforetime shook us, shall by a second 
defeat be made to do me service.' ^ Thus he spake, 
and Avitus consenting changed his prayer into hope. 
Straightway he flies thence and rouses up the 
Gothic fury that was his willing slave. Rushing to 
enroll their names, the skin-clad warriors began to 
march behind the Roman trumpets ; those barbarians 
feared the name of ' pay-docked soldiers,' ^ dreading 
the disgrace, not the loss. These men Avitus swept 
off to war, Avitus even thus early the world's hope, 
though now (or still) a plain citizen.^ Even so the 
bird of Phoebus, when bearing the cinnamon to 
his pyre on the Er)rthraean hill,* rouses all the 
conunon multitude of birds ; the obedient throng 
hies to him, and the air is too narrow to give their 
wings free play. 

" Now destiny was well-nigh bringing to fulfil- 
ment the sign of the twelve flying vultures ^ (Thou 
knowest, O Rome, thou knowest all thy troubles). 
Placidus,^ the mad eunuch, slaughtered Aetius. 
Scarce w^as the diadem set on the head of Petronius 
when all at once came a barbarian flood, and the 
Goths had visions of Rome captured by them and of 
the whole earth ready to surrender to their frenzy ; 
as ravening wolves, whose keen scent has caught a 
whiff of fatlings wafted from a fenced sheepcote, 
goad and sharpen their hunger, and carry in their 

Valentinian III. That feeble emperor is perhaps intentionally 
described in terms strictly applicable to the chamberlain 
Heraclius, who helped him in the assassination of Aetius. It 
was Petronius Maximus who appointed Avitus to the military 
command of Gaul, dignifying that office, apparently for the 
first time, with the title magisler peditum equitumque (or 
mag. tUriusque militiae ; see v. 377 and n. on 5. 553). Another 
view is that Avitus was made mag. mil. praesentalis. 


VOL. I. H 


in vultu speciem, patulo ieiunia rictu 
fallentes ; iam iamque tener spe frangitur agnus 
atque absens avido crepitat iam praeda palato. 
quin et Aremoricus piratam Saxona tractus 
sperabat, cui pelle salum sulcare Britannum 370 

ludus et assuto glaucum mare findere lembo. 
Francus Germanum primum Belgamque secundum 
sternebat, Rhenumque, ferox Alamanne, bibebas 
Romani ripis et utroque superbus in agro 
vel civis vel victor eras, sed perdita cernens 375 
terrarum spatia princeps iam Maximus, unum 
quod fuit in rebus, peditumque equitumque magis- 

te sibi, Avite, legit, collati rumor honoris 
invenit agricolam, flexi dum forte ligonis 
exercet dentes vel pando pronus aratro 380 

vertit inexcoctam per pinguia iugera glaebam. 
sic quondam ad patriae res fractas pauper arator, 
Cincinnate, venis veterem cum te induit uxor 
ante boves trabeam dictatoremque salignae 
excepere fores atque ad sua tecta ferentem 385 

quod non persevit, turpique e fasce gravata 
vile triumphalis portavit purpura semen. 

" Vt primum ingesti pondus suscepit honoris, 
legas qui veniam poscant, Alamanne, furori, 
Saxonis incursus cessat, Chattumque palustri 390 
alligat Albis aqua ; vixque hoc ter menstrua totum 

* ».c. the inhabitants of Germania Prima (capital Mogunt- 
iacum, Mainz) and Belgica Secunda (capital Durocortorum 
Remorum, Rheims). 


eyes a vision of their spoil, beguiling their famish- 
ment with jaws opened wide ; every moment their 
expectant hope sees a young lamb mangled, and the 
prey beyond their reach is already crunched in their 
greedy mouths. The Aremorican region too ex- 
pected the Saxon pirate, who deems it but sport 
to furi'ow the British waters with hides, cleaving 
the blue sea in a stitched boat. The Frank began 
to lay low the First German and the Second 
Belgian ^ ; the bold Alaman was drinking the Rhine 
from the Roman bank and proudly lording it on both 
sides, a citizen ^ or a conqueror. But Maximus, 
now emperor, seeing such loss of widespread lands, 
took the sole availing course in such distress and 
chose for himself Avitus as Master of Horse and 
Foot. The tidings of the rank bestowed found him 
farming, plying the bent mattock's tooth or stooping 
over the curved plough as he turned up the unsunned 
clods in his fertile acres. Thus aforetime Cincin- 
natus came, a poor ploughman, to heal his country's 
broken fortunes, when his wife put the old robe upon 
him, standing before the oxen, and his doors of 
willow-wood now opened for a dictator, who bore 
back to his dwelling what he had not sowed, and 
thus the triumphal purple, weighted with a mean 
load, carried common seed. 

" No sooner had he taken up the burden of the 
office thrust upon him than the Alaman sent envoys 
to crave pardon for their frenzy, the Saxon's raiding 
abated and the marshy water of Albis confined the 
Chattian; and scarce had the moon viewed all this 

* i.e. an Alamannian tribesman, a member of the Alaman- 
nian community on the right bank of the Rhine ; on the other 
bank he is an alien invader. Civis does not here mean 
"Roman citizen." 


lima videt, iamqiie ad populos ac rura feroci 

tenta Getae pertendit iter, qua pulsus ab aestu 

Oceanus refluum spargit per culta Garunnam ; 

in flumen currente mari transcendit amarus 395 

blanda fluenta latex, fluviique impacta per alveum 

salsa peregrinum sibi navigat unda profundum. 

hie iam disposito laxantes frena duello 

Vesorum proceres raptim suspendit ab ira 

rumor, succinctum referens diplomate Avitum 400 

iam Geticas intrare domos positaque parumper 

mole magisterii legati iura subisse. 

" Obstupuere duces pariter Scythicusque senatus 
et timuere, suam pacem ne forte negaret. 
sic rutilus Phaetonta levem cum carperet axis 405 
iam pallente die flagrantique excita mundo 
pax elementorum fureret vel sicca propinquus 
saeviret per stagna vapor limusque sitiret 
pulvereo ponti fundo, tunc unica Phoebi 
insuetum clemens exstinxit flamma calorem. 410 

" Hie aliquis turn forte Getes, dum falce recocta 
ictibus informat saxoque cacuminat ensem, 
iam promptus caluisse tubis, iam iamque frequent! 
caede sepulturus terram non hoste sepulto, 
claruit ut primum nomen venientis Aviti, 415 

exclamat : * periit bellum, date rursus aratra. 
400. succinctum ego : succinct©. 

^ Sidonius likes to dwell on the tidal bores of the Garonne : 
cf. 22. 18 sq.; ib. 105 sqq. ; Epist. VIII. 12. 5. 

2 Scyth., i.e. Gothic (5. 219 n.). 

' The lightness of Phaethon helped to throw the chariot- 
horses into confusion : Ovid, Met. II. 161 sq. 


throughout three monthly courses, when he set 
hiniseif on the march to the peoples and lands pos- 
sessed by the bold Goth, where the ocean driven 
onwards by the tide spreads the retreating Garonne 
over the fields — for as the sea invades the river the 
salt water climbs over the sweet flow, and the briny 
flood, driven along the river-bed, rides on deeps that 
are strange to it.^ Here the chiefs of the Visigoths 
were letting loose the war they had planned, when 
suddenly their fury was checked by tidings that 
Avitus, armed with an imperial writ, was already 
entering the home of the Goths and, having laid 
aside for a little the pomp of the Master's office, had 
taken upon himself the authority of an ambassador. 

" The Scythian ^ leaders and senate alike were 
thunderstruck, and feared lest he should deny their 
peaceful intent. Even thus, when the flaming 
chariot was pulling the light ^ Phaethon this way and 
that and the daylight was already dim, when the 
harmony of the elements was stirred to fury by a 
blazing world, when the hot breath came close and 
ranged madly over the drying pools, and the parched 
mud thirsted on the dusty bottom of the sea, then 
Phoebus' gentle fire alone quenched that unwonted 

" Hereupon, as it chanced, one of the Goths, who 
had re-forged his pruning-hook and was shaping a 
sword with blows on the anvil and sharpening it 
with a stone, a man already prepared to rouse him- 
self to fury at the sound of the trumpet and looking 
at any moment with manifold slaughter to bury the 
ground under unburied foes, cried out, as soon as the 
name of the approaching Avitus was clearly pro- 
claimed : * War is no more ! Give me the plough 



otia si replico priscae bene nota quietis, 

non semel istc mihi ferrum tulit. o pudor ! o di ! 

tantum posse fidem ! quid foedera lenta minaris, 

in damnum mihi fide meum ? compendia pacis 420 

et praestare iubes nos et debere. quis umquam 

crederet? en Getici reges, parere volentes, 

inferius regnasse putant ! nee dicere saltim 

desidiae obtentu possum te proelia nolle : 

pacem fortis amas. iam partes sternit Avitus ; 425 

insuper et Geticas praemissus continet iras 

Messianus ; adhue mandasti, et ponimus arma. 

quid restat quod posse velis ? quod non sumus hostes 

parva reor ; prisco tu si mihi notus in actu es, 

auxiliaris ero : vel sic pugnare licebit.' 430 

" Haec secum rigido Vesus dum corde volutat, 
ventum in conspectum fuerat. rex atque magister 
propter constiterant ; hie vultu erectus, at ille 
laetitia erubuit veniamque rubore poposcit. 
post hinc germano regis, hinc rege retento 435 

Palladiam implicitis manibus subiere Tolosam. 
haud secus insertis ad pulvinaria palmis 
Romulus et Tatius foedus iecere, parentum 
cum ferro et rabidis cognato in Marte maritis 
Hersiha inseruit Pallantis colle Sabinas. 440 

^ Messianus was one of Avitus's trusted officers, who after- 
wards went with him to Rome and received the title of 
patrician. He accompanied his master in his flight and was 
killed at Placentia, a.d. 456. 

* The king is Theodoric II, the brother Friedrich (Frideri- 
cus). These two had in a.d. 453 murdered their brother 
Thorismund, who had succeeded Theodoric I. There is an 
interesting description of Theodoric II in Epist I. 2. 

^ Pallwdiam. An epithet aheady appHed by Martial and 
Ausonius to Toulouse as a home of the Uberal arts. 



again ! If I recall the familiar old days of idle peace, 
he hath time and again taken the sword from me. 
O shame ! O ye gods above ! To think that faithful 
friendship should have such power ! Why dost thou 
threaten me with tedious treaties, dealing loyally 
with me to my loss ? Thou dost bid us both give to 
thee and owe to thee the advantages of peace. Who 
could have believed it ? Lo ! the Gothic kings are 
fain to yield obedience, and deem their royal power 
of less account than that. Nor can I even say that 
thou dost shun battle to screen a craven spirit ; 
brave art thou, albeit thou lovest peace. Avitus 
is already ending the strife of parties, and Mes- 
sianus ^ too, sent on before, is curbing the Gothic 
wrath. Thou hast as yet but sent thine orders, 
Avitus, and we are laying down our arms. What 
further power canst thou desire ? I count it a small 
thing that we are not thine enemies ; nay, if I have 
gained a right knowledge of thee in action aforetime, 
thine auxiHary will I be; thus at least I shall have 
leave to fight.' 

** While the Visigoth revolved these thoughts in 
his stern heart they had come into view. The king 
and the Master took their stand near together, the 
Master with confident look, while the other blushed 
with joy and by his blush sued for clemency. Then 
Avitus kept on one side of him the king ,2 on the other 
side the king's brother, and with joined hands they 
entered Tolosa, city of Pallas.^ Even thus with 
hand clasped in hand beside the couches of the gods 
did Romulus and Tatius establish their treaty, when 
Hersilia on the hill of Pallas thrust the Sabine women 
between their father's weapons and the husbands 
who were furiously battling against their kindred. 



" Interea incautam furtivis Vandalus armis 
te capit, infidoque tibi Burgundio ductu 
extorquet trepidas mactandi principis iras. 
heu facinus ! in bella iterum quartosque labores 
perfida Elisseae crudescunt classica Byrsae. 445 

nutristis quod, fata, malum ? conscenderat arces 
Euandri Massyla phalanx montesque Quirini 
Marmarici pressere pedes rursusque revexit 
quae captiva dedit quondam stipendia Barce. 
exsilium patrum, plebis mala, principe caeso 450 
captivum imperium ad Geticas rumor tulit aures. 
luce nova veterum coetus de more Getarum 
contrahitur ; stat prisca annis viridisque senectus 
consiliis ; squalent vestes ac sordida macro 
lintea pinguescunt tergo, nee tangere possunt 455 
altatae suram pelles, ac poplite nudo 
peronem pauper nodus suspendit equinum. 

" Postquam in consilium seniorum venit honora 
pauperies pacisque simul rex verba poposcit, 
dux ait : ' optassem patriis securus in arvis 460 

emeritam, fateor, semper fovisse quietem, 
ex quo militiae post munia trina superbum 

* It must not be forgotten that Jupiter is still addressing 

* Accounts of the murder of Petronius Maximus differ a 
great deal, and we have no means of knowing what Sidonius 
means by Burgundio. 

3 2. 351 n. 

* Avitus had gone to Toulouse to negotiate on behalf of 
Petronius Maximus. These negotiations were apparently 
not completed when news of the Emperor's death on May 31 
arrived. Theodoric formed the plan of making Avitus Em- 
peror and summoned his coimcil. Avitus is represented as 
appearing before the council in ignorance of the scheme on 



" Meanwhile, when thou ^ wert off thy guard, the 
Vandal with stealthy arms captured thee, and the 
Burgundian with his traitorous leadership extorted 
from thee the panic-fury that led to an emperor's 
slaughter. 2 Alas for the deed ! Once more for war 
and for a fourth season of trouble the faithless war- 
trumpets of Dido's Byrsa ^ blare forth. O Destiny, 
what ill hast thou been fostering ? A Massylian 
band had climbed Evander's height, Marmarican 
feet trampled Quirinus' hills, and Barce carried 
back the tribute that once she paid in her days of 
captivity. Rumour brought to Gothic ears the exile 
of the senate, the ills of the common folk, the 
Emperor's murder and the captivity of the Empire. 
At dawn of day a meeting of Gothic elders was 
assembled in the wonted fashion * ; there stand they, 
old in years but hale in counsel ; their dress is 
unkempt, tarnished and greasy are the linen garments 
on their lean backs ; their coats of skin are drawn 
up high and cannot reach the calf; their knees are 
bare and their boots of horse-hide are held up by a 
common knot. 

" When this company of elders, venerable for all 
their poverty, entered the council, and the king 
called for the proposals of peace, the general said : 
* I confess that I would fain have cherished evermore 
in tranquillity among my paternal acres the rest that 
my toil has earned, now that after holding three com- 
mands ^ I have reached a fourth glory and held the 

foot and merely making a strong plea for peace between the 
two nations. 

^ By militiae munia Sidonius certainly means military com- 
mands, not posts in the civil service. We learn from v. 315 
that Avitus had held no civil office before he became praefectua 



praefecturae apicem quarto iam culmine rexi. 

sed dum me nostri princeps modo Maximus orbis 

ignarum, absentem procerum per mille repulsas 465 

ad lituos post iura vocat voluitque sonoris 

praeconem mutare tubis, promptissimus istud 

arripui officium, vos quo legatus adirem. 

foedera prisca precor, quae nunc meus ille teneret, 

iussissem si forte, senex cui semper Avitum 470 

sectari crevisse fuit. tractare solebam 

res Geticas olim ; scis te nescisse frequenter 

quae suasi nisi facta, tamen fortuna priorem 

abripuit genium; periit quodcumque merebar 

cum genitore tuo. Narbonem tabe solutum 475 

ambierat (tu parvus eras) ; trepidantia cingens 

milia in infames iam iamque coegerat escas ; 

iam tristis propriae credebat defore praedae, 

si clausus fortasse perit, cum nostra probavit 

consilia et refugo laxavit moenia bello. 480 

teque ipsum (sunt ecce senes) hoc pectore fultum 

hae flentem tenuere manus, si forsitan altrix 

te mihi, cum nolles, lactandum toUeret. ecce 

advenio et prisci repeto modo pignus amoris. 

si tibi nulla fides, nulla est reverentia patris, 485 

i durus pacemque nega.' 

" Prorumpit ab omni 

^ Theodoric I. 

* See Introd., p. xvi. The result of the siege of Narbonne 
is described in 23. 59 sqq. The rehef of the town is elsewhere 
attributed to Litorius. We may assume that the arrival of 
Litorius (and possibly a severe engagement with his troops) 
inclined Theodoric to make a temporary peace, negotiated by 
Avitus. The Goths withdrew, but soon renewed hostilities, 
which ended with the bloody battle of Toulouse. It is most 
probable that Avitus joined the army of Litorius on its way 
to Narbonne and held a high command in it. 



supreme honour of the Prefecture. But as Maximus, 
late sovereign of our western world, after a thousand 
refusals from our chieftest men, summoned me, all 
unsuspecting and far away, to serve amid the clarions 
of war after controlling the laws, and ordained that I 
should now hear the blaring trumpets instead of the 
court-usher's voice, then did I right readily embrace 
the duty, that I might go as ambassador to you. I 
crave of you the old treaty, which even now that 
aged man, my one-time friend,^ for whom to follow 
Avitus was always to grow greater, would be main- 
taining if only I had bidden him. In former days I 
was wont to guide the doings of the Goths ; thou 
knowest that my counsel was often acted on before 
thou wert aware of it. But fate hath taken away 
from me my guardian-spirit of former days, and all 
my services have faded from sight along with thy 
father. He had surrounded Narbo,^ and it was 
enfeebled with wasting famine (thou wert then a 
child) : hemming in those panic-stricken thousands 
he had all but driven them to eat of loathsome things, 
and already he had begun gloomily to think that 
some of his due spoil would be lost if haply the 
besieged perished within, when he gave ear to my 
advice, and withdrawing his arms relieved the walls 
from war. And thee thyself (See ! there are old 
men to witness it), these hands of mine have held 
weeping close to this breast, when perchance thy 
nurse was taking thee away from me to give thee 
suck and thou wert loth to go. Behold ! I come and 
seek now a fresh pledge of our old love. If thou 
hast no loyalty, no reverence for thy father, then go 
thy harsh way and refuse peace.' 

** From all the council arose murmurs and shout- 



murmur concilio fremitusque, et proelia damnans 
seditiosa ciet concordem turba tumultum. 
turn rex effatur : * dudum, dux indite, culpo 
poscere te pacem nostram, cum cogere possis 490 
servitium, trahere ac populos in bella sequaces. 
ne, quaeso, invidiam patrio mihi nomine inuras : 
quid mereor, si nulla iubes ? suadere sub illo 
quod poteras, modo velle sat est, solumque moratur, 
quod cupias, nescisse Getas. mihi Romula dudum 
per te iura placent, parvumque ediscere iussit 496 
ad tua verba pater docili quo prisca Maronis 
carmine molliret Scythicos mihi pagina mores ; 
iam pacem tum velle doces. sed percipe quae sit 
condicio obsequii : forsan rata pacta probabis. 500 
testor, Roma, tuum nobis venerabile nomen 
et socium de Marte genus (vel quidquid ab aevo, 
nil te mundus habet melius, nil ipsa senatu), 
me pacem servare tibi vel velle abolere 
quae noster peccavit avus, quem fuscat id unum, 505 
quod te, Roma, capit ; sed di si vota secundant, 
excidii veteris crimen purgare valebit 
ultio praesentis, si tu, dux inclite, solum 

^ The following lines refer to the episode described in vv, 
215-226. That passage seems to imply that the visit to 
Theodorus was the first occasion on which Avitus met Theo- 
doric I. The most probable date for the visit is a.d. 430 or a 
little later. Vv. 233-235 do not necessarily rule out a.d. 430 
(see n.). Between that year and 435, when Avitus took part 
in the war against the Burgundians, the Goths seem to have 
been comparatively quiet, and Avitus may have remained at 
the Gothic court for a considerable time, acting as tutor to 
the young prince. There is no need to assume any further 
sojourn among the Goths, apart from the official missions 
described in this poem. As for iw. 481-483, they are probably 
an empty rhetorical flourish. 



ing; the insurgent crowd, condemning war, raised 
a friendly uproar. Then out spake the king : * O 
leader renowned, I have long been blaming thee for 
begging peace from us when thou hast power to 
enforce bondage and draw willing peoples to war in 
thy train. I beseech thee, brand me not with 
obloquy by bringing up my father's name. What 
blame can be mine if thou give me no orders ? What 
thou mightest have advised in his day thou needst 
now but desire; the only hindrance is that the 
Goths have not learnt what thou wouldst have. 
^ Thanks to thee the laws of Rome have long been 
pleasing to me ; when I was a child my father bade 
me learn lines by heart at thine instruction, that 
those strains of Virgil's ancient page, taught to thy 
>villing pupil, might soften my Scythian ways ; even 
then thou didst teach me to desire peace. But hear 
now the terms of my obedience, and perhaps thou 
wilt be pleased to sanction a compact. I swear, O 
Rome, by thy name, revered by me, and by our 
common descent from Mars^ (for among all things 
that have been since the beginning of time the world 
hath naught greater than thee and thou hast naught 
greater than the senate) : I desire to keep the peace 
with thee and to wipe out the transgressions of my 
grandsire,^ whose one blot is that he captured thee ; 
but if the gods bless my prayer, the guilt of that 
ancient destruction can be atoned for by avenging 
that of to-day* — if only thou, renowned leader, 

' Jord. Gei. 5 states that Mars is said to have dwelt for a 
long time among the Goths. With this tradition he associates 
Verg. Aen. III. 35, where Mars is said to be a tutelary deity of 
the Getica arva. 

3 Alaric, who captured Rome, a.d. 410. 

* i.e. the capture by Geiseric. 



Augusti subeas nomen. quid lumina flectis ? 
invitum plus esse decet. non cogimus istud, 510 

sed contestamur : Romae sum te duce amicus, 
principe te miles, regnum non praeripis ulli, 
nee quisquam Latias Augustus possidet arces ; 
qua vacat, aula tua est. tester, non sufficit istud, 
ne noceam ; atque tuo hoc utinam diademate fiat, 515 
ut prosim ! suadere meum est ; nam Gallia si te 
compulerit, quae iure potest, tibi pareat orbis, 
ne pereat.' dixit pariterque in verba petita 
dat sanctam cum fratre fidem. discedis, Avite, 
maestus, qui Gallos scires non posse latere 520 

quod possint servire Getae te principe. namque 
civibus ut patuit trepidis te foedera ferre, 
occurrunt alacres ignaroque ante tribunal 
sternunt ; utque satis sibimet numerosa coisse 
nobilitas visa est, quam saxa nivalia Cotti 525 

despectant, variis nee non quam partibus ambit 
Tyrrheni Rhenique liquor, vel longa Pyrenei 
quam iuga ab Hispano seclusam iure cohercent, 
aggreditur nimio curarum pondere tristem 
gaudens turba virum. procerum tuni' maximus 
unus, 530 

dignus qui patriae personam sumeret, infit : 
* quam nos per varios dudum fortuna labores 

521. quod Mohr : quid. 


shouldst take upon thee the name of Augustus. 
Why dost thou avert thine eyes ? Thine unwilHng- 
ness becomes thee all the more. We do not force 
this on thee, but we adjure thee : with thee as 
leader I am a friend of Rome, with thee as Emperor 
I am her soldier. Thou art not stealing the 
sovereignty from any man ; no Augustus holds the 
Latian hills, a palace without a master is thine. I 
protest, it is not enough that I do thee no harm ; I 
would that thine imperial diadem might bring me 
the means to do thee service. My part is but to 
urge thee ; but if Gaul should compel thee, as she 
has the right to do, the world would cherish thy 
sway, lest it perish. ' He spake, and straightway with 
his brother gave his solemn pledge in the form of 
words desired. But thou, Avitus, didst depart in 
sadness, knowing it could not be hidden from the 
Gauls that the Goths could be at their service if 
thou wert Emperor. Yea, when it was revealed to 
the anxious citizens that thou wert carrying back 
with thee a treaty, they eagerly rushed to meet 
thee, and ^vithout thy kno^ving it they spread a 
tribunal for thee beforehand, and when the crowds 
of nobles deemed they were assembled in sufficient 
multitude — those on whom the snowy rocks of the 
Cottian Alps look down, those around whom in their 
sundry regions wind the waters of the Tuscan sea 
or the Rhine, and those whom the long ridges of the 
Pyrenees shut off from Spanish rule — then did that 
throng approach wiih joy that man oppressed by a 
crushing load of care. Thereupon the oldest of all those 
lords, one right worthy to be his country's spokes- 
man, thus began : ' Of the cruel fortune that hath 
long harassed us with divers hardships under a boy- 



principe sub puero laceris terat aspera rebus, 

fors longum, dux magne, queri, cum quippe dolentum 

maxima pars fueris, patriae dum vulnera higens 535 

sollieitudinibus vehementibus exagitaris. 

has nobis inter clades ac funera mundi 

mors vixisse fuit. sed dum per verba parentum 

ignavas colimus leges sanctumque putamus 

rem veterem per damna sequi, porta vimus um- 

bram 540 

imperii, generis contenti ferre vetusti 
et vitia ac solitam vestiri murice gentem 
more magis quam iure pati. promptissima nuper 
fulsit condicio proprias qua Gallia vires 
exsereret, trepidam dum Maximus occupat ur- 

bem ; 545 

orbem sat potuit, si te sibi tota magistro 
regna reformasset. quis nostrum 13elgica rura, 
litus Aremorici, Geticas quis moverit iras, 
non latet : his tantis tibi cessimus, indite, bellis. 
nunc iam summa vocant ; dubio sub tempore reg- 

num 550 

non regit ignavus. postponitur ambitus omnis 
ultima cum claros quaerunt : post damna Ticini 
ac Trebiae trepidans raptim respublica venit 
ad Fabium ; Cannas celebres Varrone fugato 
Scipiadumque etiam turgentem funere Poenum 555 
Livius electus fregit. captivus, ut aiunt, 
orbis in urbe iacet ; princeps perit, hie caput omne 
nunc habet imperium. petimus, conscende tribunal, 

546. orbem sat potuit Leo : orbem ego sat potui MC^ orbem 
immo potuit TF. 

^ Referring to Valentinian III. 

* This refers to Avitus's organisation of resistance to 
Attila; see w. 316-356. 


emperor,^ tearing our prosperity to shreds, it would 
belike be tedious to make plaint, O mighty leader, 
since verily thou wert the chiefest figure among the 
mourners, lamenting ever thy country's wounds and 
tortured by uncontrollable anxieties. Amid those 
calamities, that universal destruction, to live was 
death. But as we, taught by our fathers' words, 
paid homage to idle laws and deemed it a hallowed 
duty to cling to the old order even through disasters, 
we endured that shadow of Empire, content to bear 
even the vices of an ancient stock and to tolerate, 
more from custom than by reason of just claim, a 
house that had been wont to be invested with the 
purple. Of late a golden opportunity shone forth, 
whereby Gaul might make her oAvn strength felt, 
while Maximus was possessing himself of the panic- 
stricken capital ; and she might well have possessed 
herself of the world if with thee as Master she had 
restored to herself all her rightful lands. 'Tis no 
secret who of us it was that stirred up the Belgian 
land, the Aremorican shore and the Gothic fury.^ 
In this dread warfare we yielded pride of place to 
thee, renowned one. Now the supreme office calls 
for thee ; in time of peril a realm cannot be ruled 
by a poltroon. All ambitious rivalry gives place 
when extremity calls for men of renown. After the 
losses of Ticinum and Trebia the trembling republic 
came in haste to Fabius. By the election of Livius 
the disaster of Cannae, famous for Varro's rout, was 
undone ; undone too was the Carthaginian, still 
exulting over the deaths of the Scipios. The world, 
they say , lies captive in the captive city ; the Emperor 
has perished, and now the Empire has its head here. 
Ascend the tribunal, we beseech thee, and raise up 



erige collapses ; non hoc modo tempora poscunt, 

ut Romam plus alter amet. nee forte reare 560 

te regno non esse parem : cum Brennica signa 

Tarpeium premerent, scis, turn respublica nostra 

tota Camillus erat, patriae qui debitus ultor 

texit fumantes hostili strage favillas, 

non tibi centurias aurum populare paravit, 565 

nee modo venales numerosoque asse redemptae 

concurrunt ad puncta tribus ; suffragia mundi 

nullus emit, pauper legeris ; quod sufficit unum, 

es meritis dives, patriae cur vota moraris, 

quae iubet ut iubeas ? haec est sententia cunctis : 570 

si dominus fis, liber ero.' 

" Fragor atria complet 
V^ierni, quo forte loco pia turba senatus 
detulerat vim, vota, preces. locus, hora diesque 
dicitur imperio felix, ac protinus illic 
nobilium excubias gaudens soUertia mandat. 575 

" Tertia lux refugis Hyperiona fuderat astris : 
concurrunt proceres ac milite circumfuso 
aggere composite statuunt ac torque coronant 
castrensi maestum donantque insignia regni ; 
nam prius induerat solas de principe curas. 580 

baud alio quondam vultu Tirynthius heros 

572. iiierni M, Ugerni Sirmond. : t(h)iemi. 
580. nam Mokr : iam. 

^ Viemum, or Ugemum, modern Beaucaire, near Aries. The 
meeting here referred to was a hastily summoned assembly 
of Gallic notabilities, not the representative assembly of Gaul 
(on which see Introd. p. xii, Bury I. pp. 207 sq.), which met at 



the fainting ; this time of peril asks not that some 
other should love Rome more. Nor do thou by 
any chance deem thyself unequal to sovereignty. 
When Brennus' host beset the Tarpeian rock, then, 
thou knowest, Camillus was himself the whole of our 
state, and he, the destined avenger of his country, 
covered the smoking embers of the city with the 
slaughtered enemy. No gold scattered among the 
people hath secured for thee the verdict of the 
centuries; this time no venal tribes bought with 
plenteous coin rush to give their votes ; the suffrages 
of the world no one can buy. Though a poor man, 
thou art being chosen; rich art thou in thy deserts, 
and that suffices in itself. Why dost thou hinder the 
desires of thy country, when she orders thee to give 
orders to her? This is the judgment of all: " if 
thou becomest the master I shall be free." ' 

" Then a great clamour filled the hall of Viernum ^ 
(for it was in this place, as it chanced, that the senate's 
devoted throng had brought before him the force 
of its authority, its desires, and its prayers). Place, 
hour, and day are declared auspicious for the assump- 
tion of empire, and straightway those resourceful 
nobles joyously order a guard to be set there. 

" The third day had spread the sun's light over the 
retreating stars : the lords of the land assemble in 
haste and with soldiers all around set him on a mound- 
platform 2 ; there they crown their sorrowing chief 
with a military collar and present him with the 
outward emblems of sovereignty (hitherto the only 
attribute of an Emperor he had assumed was his 
cares). With such a look did the Tirynthian hero 

' The next stage was the proclamation of the Emperor by 
the soldiers. 



pondera suscepit caeli simul atque novercae 
cum Libyca se rupe Gigas subduceret et cum 
tutior Herculeo sedisset machina dorso. 

" Hunc tibi, Roma, dedi, patulis dum Gallia 

campis 585 

intonat Augustum plausu faustumque fragorem 
portat in exsanguem Boreas iam fortior Austrum. 
hie tibi restituet Libyen per vincula quarta, 
et cuius solum amissas post saeeula multa 
Pannonias revocavit iter, iam credere promptum 

est 590 

quid faciat bellis. o quas tibi saepe iugabit 
inflictis gentes aquilis, qui maxima regni 
omina privatus fugit, cum forte vianti 
excuteret praepes plebeium motus amictum! 
laetior at tanto modo principe, prisca deorum 595 
Roma parens, attolle genas ac turpe veternum 
depone : en princeps faciet iuvenescere maior, 
quam pueri fecere senem." 

Finem pater ore 
vlx dederat : plausere dei fremitusque cucurrit 

^ Juno. Her jealous hatred dogged Hercules from his 
birth, and was the prime cause of his ' ' labours." It was while 
engaged on one of these (the quest of the golden apples) 
that he temporarily took the burden of the heavens from the 
shoulders of Atlas (the " giant " of this passage). 

2 i.e. the Vandals, now pale with fright. 

^ A very mysterious allusion. Avitus was proclaimed 
Emperor in July and reached Rome in September, a.d. 455. 
There is no reason to believe that he took a long time over his 
journey ; the statement sometimes made that he left Gaul in 
July has neither common sense nor ancient authority to support 
it. It is scarcely credible that he turned aside at this time to 
make a demonstration against the " barbarians " in Pannonia. 
He may have sent a force under one of his generals ; it was 



of old take upon him the burden alike of the sky 
and of his stepmother^ when the giant withdrew 
himself from the Libyan mount and the firmament 
had sunk with greater safety upon the back of 

** This man I have given thee, Rome, while Gaul 
throughout her wide plains thunders with plaudits 
for Augustus, and the north, now stronger, carries 
the auspicious clamour to the pale-cheeked south. ^ 
He shall restore Libya to thee a fourth time in chains 
— and when a man has recovered the lost Pannonias 
after so many generations by a mere march ,3 'tis 
easy to feel sure even now of what he can do by 
waging war. How he shall, time and again, bring 
nations under thy yoke, dashing his eagles against 
them! — that man who as a subject shrank from the 
glorious omens of sovereignty, when it chanced that as 
he journeyed a startled bird struck from his shoulders 
the common cloak he wore. But now be of good 
cheer with such a man for Emperor, O Rome, ancient 
mother of gods ; lift up thine eyes and cast off thine 
unseemly gloom. Lo ! a prince of riper years shall 
bring back youth to thee, whom child-princes have 
made old." 

The great Father had scarce ended his utterance 
when the gods clapped their hands and a shout of 

quite in order to give the Emperor credit for a military success 
won under his auspices. If Avitus did not lead the expedition 
it may have taken place even after his arrival in Rome. It is, 
however, probable that iter means the journey of Avitus from 
Gaul to Rome, and that in the course of it there came some good 
news or friendly overtures from Pannonia, which Sidonius 
attributes to the prestige of the new Emperor and the fear 
produced by his journey southward. The contrast of iter with 
bellis seems to imply that there was no fighting on this occasion. 



concilio. felix tempus nevere sorores 600 

imperiis, Auguste, tuis et consulis anno 
fulva volubilibus duxerunt saecula pensis. 



Prisce, decus semper nostrum, cui principe Avito 

cognatum sociat purpura celsa genus, 
ad tua cum nostrae currant examina nugae, 

dico : " state, vagae ; quo properatis ? amat. 
destrictus semper censor, qui diligit, exstat ; 5 

dura fronte legit mollis amicitia. 
nil totura prodest adiectum laudibus illud 

Vlpia quod rutilat porticus acre meo 
vel quod adhuc populo simul et plaudente senatu 

ad nostrum reboat concava Roma sophos." 10 

respondent illae : " properabimus, ibimus, et nos 

non retines : tanto iudice culpa placet, 
cognitor hoc nullus melior ; bene carmina pensat 

contemptu tardo, iudicio celeri." 
et quia non potui temeraria sistere verba, 15 

hoc rogo, ne dubites lecta dicare rogo. 

^ Almost the only information which we have about Priscus 
Valerianus is derived from this poem and from Epist. V. 10. 
The superscription of the poem shows that Valerianus had 
risen to be Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, but does not, as some 
authorities suppose, state that he held that office at the time 
when the verfses were written, 

2 For the statue of Sidonius in Trajan's Forum see Introd., 
p. xxxvii. 



applause rang through the council. The fateful 
Sisters spun out a happy time for thy rule, Augustus, 
and for thy consular year they drew out with their 
whirling spindles a golden age. 



Priscus, my unceasing pride, whose race is by 
right of kinship linked with the majestic purple, 
now that Avitus is Emperor : as my trifling effusions 
are hurrying off to encounter your judgment, I say, 
" Halt, flighty creatures ! Whither are you hastening ? 
He loves me, and he who loves ever shows himself an 
unsparing judge ; gentle friendship reads with harsh 
brow. It boots me not that there is added to the tale 
of my merits all the glory of my form in bronze ^ 
gleaming red in the Ulpian portico and the huzzas 
for me that still re-echo from the recesses of Rome's 
hills,^ while senate and people alike sound my 
praises." Then they reply: "We nill hasten, we 
will go, and you shall not hold us back. With such 
a man to judge us even censure is sweet. There is 
no better critic than he ; skilfully does he weigh 
poems, and though quick of judgment he is slow to 
scorn." And so, as I could not keep my reckless 
verses from going, hesitate not, when you have read 
them, to let the fire prey on them, I pray you. 

' Concava Roma is a bold expression, in which concava is 
even more difficult to translate than it is in Verg. Georg. 
IV. 49 (also referring to echoes), concava pulsu saxa sonant. 
The circle of Rome's hills suggests the idea of a building with 
concave walls, from which echoes are flung back. 





Largam Sollivs hanc Apollinaris 
felici domino pioqve fratri 
digit sidonivs svvs salvtem. 

Die, die quod peto, Magne, die, amabo, 
Felix nomine, mente, honore, forma, 5 

natis, coniuge, fratribus, parente, 
germanis genitoris atqiie matris 
et summo patruelium Camillo : 
quid nugas temerarias amici, 

sparsit quas tenerae ioeus iuventae, 10 

in formam redigi iubes libelli, 
ingentem simul et repente fascem 
conflari invidiae et perire chartam ? 
mandatis famulor, sed ante testor, 
lector quas patieris hie salebras. 15 

Non nos currimus aggerem vetustum 
nee quicquam invenies ubi priorum 
antiquas terat orbitas Thalia, 
non hie antipodas salumque rubrum, 
non hie Memnonios eanemus Indos 20 

Aurorae face civica perustos ; 
non Artaxata, Susa, Bactra, Carrhas, 
non coctam Babylona personabo, 

^ Magnus Felix, son of Magnus (23. 455 n.), was a school- 
fellow of Sidonius {v. 330, below). He rose 'to be Praetorian 
Prefect of Gaul and Patrician. He lived in Narbonne. Epist. 
II. 3, III. 4 and 7, IV. 5 and 10 are addressed to him. See 
also Carm. 24. 91 and, for his connexion with Philagrius, n. 
on 7. 156. 

2 The wife's name was Attica. An extant epigram records 
that she built a church. 




To THE Lord Felix, 

His Loving Brother, 

SoLLius Apollinaris Sidonius 

Hereby Gives Heartiest Greeting. 

Come tell me, tell me what I want to know, tell 
me, Magnus,^ please, Magnus Felix, felicitous in 
your name, in your intellect, in your eminence, your 
person, your children, wife ,2 brothers ,3 parents, your 
father's and mother's brothers,* and that chief est 
of all cousins, Camillus ^ — why do you demand that 
the thoughtless scribblings of your friend, broadcast 
in the frolicsome spirit of early youth, should be put 
into book-form, and thus a great bundle of enmity 
should suddenly be produced and paper wasted at 
the same time? I bow to your commands, but 
first I declare to you what jolts you are going to suffer 
here as you read. 

I am not speeding over the old road; you shall 
find here no place where my muse treads in the 
antique ruts of my predecessors. I shall not here 
sing of Antipodes or Red Sea or Memnon's Indians 
burnt by Aurora's torch blazing in her homeland. 
I shall not trumpet forth Artaxata, Susa, Bactra, 
Carrhae or brick-built Babylon, which opens out 

' Probus (24. 94 n.) was a brother of Felix. Araneola, for 
whose marriage Sidonius wrote Carm. 14 and 15, may have 
been a sister. Fratres may mean " brother and sister." 

* One of the brothers of Magnus was the father of Camillus. 
He was a proconsul before a.d. 461 {Epist. I. 11. 10). 

5 Camillus, as we learn from Epist. I. 11. 10 sq., held two 
high offices of state and received the title of inlustris. 



quae largum fluvio patens alumno 

inclusum bibit hinc et inde Tigrim. 25 

non hie Assyriis Ninum priorem, 

non Medis caput Arbacen profabor, 

nee quam divite, cum refugit hostem, 

arsit Sardanapallus in favilla. 

non Cyrum Astyagis loquar nepotem, 30 

nutritum ubere quern ferunt canino, 

cuius non valuit rapacitatem 

vel Lydi satiare gaza Croesi ; 

cuius nee feritas subaeta tunc est, 

caesis milibus ante cum ducentis 35 

in vallis Scythicae coactus artum 

orbatae ad Tomyris veniret utrem. 

Non hie Cecropios leges triumphos, 
vel si quo Marathon rubet duello, 
aut, cum milia mille concitaret, 40 

inflatum numerositate Xerxen, 
atque hunc fluminibus satis profundis 
confestim ebibitis adhuc sitisse ; 
nee non Thermopylas et Helles undas 
spretis obicibus soli salique 45 

insanis equitasse cum catervis 
admissoque in Athon tumente ponto 
iuxta frondiferae cacumen Alpis 
scalptas classibus isse per cavernas. 

Non prolem Garamantici Tonantis, 50 

regnis principibusque principantem, 
porrectas Asiae loquar paterno 
actum fulmine pervolasse terras 

44. Helles Luc. Mtidler : hel(l)is. 

1 " Tigris " should be " Euphrates." 

2 Cyrus had slain the son of Tomyris, queen of the Massage- 



afar to receive the stream that nourishes it and so 
drinks the Tigris ^ on both banks within the walls. 
I shall not here proclaim the earlier Ninus of the 
Assyrians nor Arbaces, head of the Medes, nor the 
richness of the pyre on which Sardanapallus burned 
when he sought refuge from the foe. I shall not tell 
of Asty ages' grandson, Cyrus, who they say was 
suckled at a bitch's breast, a man whose greed not 
even the treasure of Lydian Croesus could sate, 
whose fierceness was not subdued even when, having 
slain two hundred thousand, he was hemmed within 
a narrow Scythian valley and drew nigh to the bag 
of the bereaved Tomyris.^ 

You shall not read here of Athenian triumphs or 
of any war that may have dyed Marathon red, or 
how Xerxes, stirring up a thousand thousand men, was 
puffed up by their multitudinousness, or how, when 
rivers of great depth had been drunk up in a trice, 
he still thirsted, or the tale of Thermopylae, or how, 
scorning the barriers of land and sea, he rode with his 
mad hordes over the waters that Helle named ^ and, 
letting into Athos waves that rose well-nigh to the 
summit of that leafy Alp, he passed on shipboard 
through the deep channel he had cut. 

I shall not relate how the offspring of the Gara- 
niantian Thunder-god,* lording it over lords and 
kingdoms, was sped on by his father's thunderbolt 
and swept through Asia's widespread lands ; how 

tae. Soon afterwards she enticed the Persians into a narrow 
pass, and slew Cyrus and all his men. She ordered his head to 
he cut ofif and thrown into a bag filled with blood, thus reviling 
his cruelty : " Sate yourself with the blood for which you 
thirsted insatiably." 

' The Hellespont. 

* Alexander the Great : see 2. 121-120. 


et primum Darii tumultuantes 

praefectos satrapasque perculisse, 55 

mox ipsum solio patrum superbum 

cognatosque sibi deos crepantem 

captis coniuge, liberis, parente 

in casus hominis redire iussum ; 

qui cum maxima bella concitasset 60 

tota et Persidis undique gregatae 

uno constituisset arma campo, 

hoc solum perhibetur assecutus, 

dormire ut melius liberet hosti. 

Non vectos Minyas loquente silva 65 

dicam Phasiaco stetisse portu, 
forma percita cum ducis Pelasgi 
molliret rabidos virago tauros, 
nee tum territa, cum suus colonus 
post anguis domiti satos molares 70 

armatas tremebundus inter herbas 
florere in segetem stuperet hostem 
et pugnantibus hinc et hinc aristis 
supra belliferas madere glaebas 
culmosos viridi cruore fratres. 75 

Non hie terrigenam loquar cohortem 
admixto mage vividam veneno, 
cui praeter speciem modo carentem 
angues corporibus voluminosis 

alte squamea crura porrigentes 80 

in vestigia fauce desinebant. 

65. vescos (vescas F) codd. 

^ The "plain" is that of Gaugamela, where Alexander 
routed Darius and overthrew the Persian Empire (331 B.C., 
the so-called Battle of Arbela). On the day appointed for 
the battle Alexander slept until an alarmingly late hour. 
When Parmenio with difficulty awoke him and asked how he 



he first laid low in confusion the governors and 
satraps of Darius and then the king himself, a 
monarch that proudly exulted in the throne of his 
father and prated of his kin the gods, but now, 
with wife, children and mother captured, was forced 
to relapse into a mere mortal's lot, and who, 'tis 
said, when he had stirred up a mighty war and had 
set in one plain the whole armed force of Persia 
gathered from every part, won thereby this one 
thing only — that his enemy was disposed to sleep the 
better for it.^ 

Nor shall I tell how the Minyae were carried over the 
sea by the talking timber ^ and halted in the harbour 
of the Phasis, what time the man-like maid, smitten 
by the beauty of the Grecian leader, soothed the 
raging bulls and knew no terror even when he whom 
she had made a tiller of the soil had sown the teeth 
of the vanquished serpent and stood trembling amid 
the armed shoots, aghast to see a foe burst into 
crop and the spikes take sides and fight with one 
another, while over the war-breeding clods the 
stalky brothers dripped with green blood. 

J shall not here speak of the earth-born band 
made more live by the venom in their veins, who, 
besides a form that had outgrown all limits, had 
likewise snakes with coiling bodies, extending their 
scaly legs on high and ending in mouths that served 

could possibly sleep so long on that most important of all 
days, Alexander answered, "Don't you think the victory 
is as good as won, now that we are freed from the necessity 
of roaming far and wide over desolate country in pursuit 
of the elusive Darius?" (Plutarch, Alex. 32). The "wife, 
children and mother " of Darius were captured at the Battle 
of Issus (333*B.c.). 

* One plank of the Argo was endowed with speech. 



sic formae triplicis procax iuventus 

tellurem pede proterens voraci 

currebat capitum stiipenda gressu 

et cum classica numinum sonabant 85 

mox contra tonitrus resibilante 

audebat superos ciere planta. 

nee Phlegrae legis ampliata rura, 

missi diim volitant per astra montes 

Pindus, Pelion, Ossa, Olympus, Othrys 90 

cum silvis, gregibus, feris, pruinis, 

saxis, fontibus, oppidis levati 

vibrantum spatiosiore dextra. 

Non hie Hereulis exeolam labores, 
cui sus, eerva, leo, Gigas, Amazon, 95 

hospes, taurus, Eryx, aves, Lyeus, fur, 
Nessus, Libs, iuga, poma, virgo, serpens, 
Oete, Thraces equi, boves Hiberae, 
luctator fluvius, canis triformis 
portatusque polus polum dederunt. 100 

Non hie EHda nobilem quadrigis 
nee notam nimis amnis ex amore 
versu prosequar, ut per ima ponti 
Alpheus fluat atque transmarina 
in fluctus cadat unda coniugales. 105 

Non hie Tantaleam domum retexam, 
qua mixtum Pelopea per parentem est 
prolis facta soror novoque monstro 
infamem genuit pater nepotem ; 
nil maestum hie canitur; nee esculentam 110 

1 Cf. 6. 26. 

2 The plains are " enlarged " by the removal of the moun- 



as feet.^ Thus that arrogant young band of triple- 
formed monsters, tramphng the earth with ravenous 
feet, would run in marvellous wise with stepping 
heads ; and when the war-trumps of the gods sounded 
they thereupon dared to challenge the denizens of 
heaven with foot hissing in reply to the thunder's 
roar. Nor do you read here of Phlegra's plains 
enlarged ^ when hurtling mountains flew about 
among the stars, Pindus, Pelion, Ossa, Olympus, 
Othrys, with their woods, herds, beasts, frosts, rocks, 
springs, and towns, all uplifted by the hurlers' right 
hands that were broader than they. 

I shall not here embellish the labours of Hercules,* 
to whom boar, deer, lion, giant, Amazon, host, bull, 
Eryx, birds, Lycus, thief, Nessus, Libyan, hills, 
apples, maid, serpent, Oeta, Thracian steeds, Spanish 
cows, Avrestling river, tri-formed dog and the carrying 
of heaven gave heaven as a reward. 

I shall not here celebrate in verse Elis renowned 
for the four-horse chariots nor her who is so famed for 
a river's love,* telling how Alpheus flows through 
the lowest deeps of the sea and the water on the other 
side falls into the connubial waves. 

I shall not here recall the house of Tantalus, 
wherein Pelopea by union with a- father became the 
sister of her children and her father by an unheard- 
of deed of horror begat an infamous grandson. 
Nothing doleful is here sung; I do not relate the 

' Cf. 15. 141 sqq. Most of the references are obvious. The 
" giant " is perhaps Typhoeus, the " host " is probably Busiris, 
the " thief" is Cacus, the " Libyan " is Antaeus, the " hills " 
are Calpe and Abvla (the " Pillars of Hercules "), the " maid " 
is Hosione, the " Thracian steeds " are those of Diomede. 

* Arethusa. 



fletiis pingimus ad dapem Thyestae, 

fratris crimine qui miser voratis 

viviim pignoribus fuit sepulcrum, 

cum post has epulas repente flexis 

Titan curribus occidens ad ortum 115 

convivam fugeret, diem fugaret. 

Nee Phryx pastor erit tibi legendus, 
decrescens cui Dindymon reciso 
fertur vertice texuisse classem, 

cum iussu Veneris patrocinantis 120 

terras Oebalias et hospitales 
raptor depopulatus est Amyclas, 
praedam trans pelagus petens sequacem. 
sed nee Pergama nee decenne bellura 
nee saevas Agamemnonis phalangas 125 

nee periuria persequar Sinonis, 
arx quo Palladio dicata signo 
pellaci reserata proditore 
portantem pedites equum recepit. 

Non hie Maeoniae stilo Camenae 130 

civis Duliehiique Thessalique 
virtutem sapientiamque narro, 
quorum hie Peliaeo putatur antro 
venatu, fidibus, palaestra et herbis 
sub Saturnigena sene institutus, 135 

dum nunc lustra terens puer ferarum 
passim per Pholoen iacet nivosam, 
nunc praesepibus accubans amatis 
dormit mollius in iuba magistri ; 

inde Scyriadum datus parent! 140 

falsae nomina pertulisse Pyrrhae 

111. pingimus : pangimus vulgo, fingimus Buechder. 

^ i.e. the sun, when in the middle of its course, suddenly 
turned back, making the day retreat. 


weeping of Thyestes at the gluttonous feast, who 
by his brother's crime, unhappy one, was a Hving 
tomb for the children he devoured, while the sun, after 
that horrible banquet, suddenly turning his car, set 
toward the east, and fleeing from the feaster put the 
day to flight.^ 

Nor shall you have to read of the Phrygian shep- 
herd ^ for whom, 'tis said, Dindymon ^ grew smaller 
and with her lopped crest formed a fleet, when by 
order of Venus his abettor that ravisher despoiled the 
land of Oebalia and hospitable Amyclae, seeking 
across the sea a prey that willingly followed him. 
Nay, I shall not go over the tale of Troy and the ten 
years' war and the fierce battalions of Agamemnon 
and the treachery of Sinon whereby the citadel 
dedicated to the image of Pallas was laid open 
through the work of a wily betrayer and admitted 
the horse that carried foot-soldiers. 

I do not here relate with the pen of the Maeonian 
muse the wisdom of the Dulichian and the valour 
of the Thessalian * ; of whom the second is deemed 
to have been trained in a cave of Pelion under an 
aged son of Saturn ^ in hunting, in the music of the 
l}Te, in wrestling and in the use of simples ; and 
the boy, as he scoured the wild beasts' haunts, 
would sometimes repose on any part of snowy 
Pholoe, at other times he would recHne in the well- 
loved stall, sleeping more comfortably on his tutor's 
mane ; then, says the story, he was given to the father 
of the Scyrian maids, enduring the false name of 

* Paris. 

' Sidonius is here imitating Statius Silv. I. 1. 10, the only 
other passage where the nominative form Dindymon occurs. 
Dindymus and Dindyrna (plur.) are the usual forms. 

* Ulysses and Achilles. ' Chiron. 


VOL. I. I 


atque inter tetricae chores Minervae 
occultos Veneri rotasse thyrsos ; 
postremo ad Phrygiae sonum rapinae 
tractus laudibus Hectoris trahendi. 145 

ast ilium, cui contigit paternam 
quartum post Ithacam redire lustrum, 
nee Zmyrnae satis explicat volumen. 
nam quis continuare possit illos 

quos terra et pelago tulit labores : 150 

raptum Palladium, repertum Achillem, 
captum praepetibus Dolona plantis 
et Rhesi niveas prius quadrigas 
Xanthi quam biberent fluenta tractas, 
ereptam quoque quam deus patronus, 155 

Philocteta, tibi dedit pharetram, 
Aiacem Telamonium furentem 
quod sese ante rates agente causam 
pugnacis tulit eloquens coronam, 
vitatum hinc Polyphemon atque Circen 160 

et Laestrygonii famem tyranni, 
tum pomaria divitis, Calypso et 
Sirenas pereuntibus placentes, 
vitatas tenebras facemque Naupli 
et Scyllae rabidum voracis inguen 165 

vel Tauromenitana quos Chary bdis 
ructato scopulos cavat profundo ? 
Non divos specialibus faventes 
agris, urbibus insulisque canto, 

Saturnum Latio lovemque Cretae 170 

lunonemque Samo Rhodoque Solem, 
Hennae Persephonen, Minervam Hymetto, 
Vulcanum Liparae, Papho Dionen, 

1 Or perhaps " by the glorious prospect of dragging Hector." 


Pyrrha, and amid the band of stern Minerva's votaries 
he honoured Venus in secret revels : lastly, when the 
noise of the Phrygian spoiling reached his ears, he 
was dragged away by the glories of that Hector who 
would himself one day be dragged.^ But as for the 
other hero, whose hap it was to return to Ithaca, the 
land of his father, after four lustres had passed, even 
Smyrna's scroll ^ does not unfold the whole tale. Nay, 
who could relate the whole succession of toils that he 
endured on land and sea — the seizing of the Palladium, 
the finding of Achilles, the capture of swift-footed 
Dolon, and the four snow-white chariot-horses of 
Rhesus taken away before they could drink of 
Xanthus' stream; likewise the snatching of the 
quiver given to Philoctetes by his patron god and 
the madness of Ajax son of Telamon because when 
he stood before the ships and pled his cause the man 
of words won the prize of the man of arms ; then 
the escape from Polyphemus, from Circe, and from 
the hunger of the Laestrygonian king, and there- 
after the rich man's orchard, and Calypso and the 
Sirens who charmed men to their doom ; his escape 
likewise from the darkness and the torch of Naup- 
Uus ^ and the raging groin of ravening Scylla and the 
rocks that Charybdis of Tauromenium hollows out 
by the belching of the deep ? 

I sing not of the divinities that show favour to 
special lands, cities, and islands ; Saturn to Latium, 
Jove to Crete, Juno to Samos, the Sun-god to Rhodes, 
Proserpine to Henna, Minerva to Hymettus, Vulcan 
to Lipara, Dione to Paphos, Perseus to Argos, 

' Homer. 

' Nauplius, by showing false lights on the cliffs of Euboea, 
wrecked the Greek ships on their way back from Troy. 



Ar^is Persea, Lampsaco Priapum, 

Thebis Euhion Ilioque Vestam, 175 

Thymbrae Delion, Arcadem Lycaeo, 

Martem Thracibus ac Scythis Dianam, 

qiios fecere deos dicata templa, 

tus, sal, far, mola vel superfluarum 

consecratio caerimoniarum. 180 

Non cum Triptolemo verendam Eleusin, 
qui primas populis dedere aristas 
pastis Chaonium per ilicetum, 
non Apin Mareoticum sonabo 

ad Memphitica sistra concitari. 185 

non dicam Lacedaemonos iuventam 
unctas Tyndaridis dicasse luctas, 
doctos quos patriis palen Therapnis 
gymnas Bebrycii tremit theatri ; 

non sortes Lyciasque Caeritumque, 190 

responsa aut Themidis priora Delphis, 
nee quae fulmine Tuscus expiato 
saeptum numina quaerit ad bidental ; 
nee quos Euganeum bibens Timavum 
colle Antenoreo videbat augur 195 

divos Thessalicam movere pugnam ; 
nee quos Amphiaraus et Melampus 
* * * 

ex ipsis rapuit deos favillis 

per templum male fluctuante flamma 

gaudens lumine perdito Metellus. 200 

1 See 5. 163 n. 

* A place struck by lightning. Such places were hca 
religiosa, i.e. a taboo was attached to them. The Hghtning 
was ceremonially "buried" {fulmen condere) and a sheep 
sacrificed (hence the name, from bidens); then the spot was 
doubly enclosed by a high kerb and an outer wall. At Rome 



Priapus to Lampsacus, Bacchus to Thebes, Vesta 
to Ilium, the Delian god to Thymbra, the Arcadian 
to Lycaeus, Mars to Thrace, Diana to Scythia, who 
have all been made gods by the dedication of temples 
to them, by incense, salt, spelt, meal, and the 
hallowing of vain rites. 

I shall not trumpet forth the worshipful Eleusis 
and Triptolemus, givers of the first corn to folks 
wont to find their food in the Chaonian oak-forest; 
nor Egyptian Apis aroused by the sounds of the 
Memphitic sistrum. I shall not tell how Sparta's 
young manhood dedicated the oily wrestling-bout 
to the sons of Tyndarus, at whose prowess, learned 
in their native Therapnae, the athletes of the 
Bebrycian ^ arena trembled. Nor shall my theme be 
Lycian or Caerite oracles or the earlier responses 
of Themis at Delphi or the divinities that the Tuscan, 
when he expiates the lightning, seeks at the fenced 
bidental,2 or the gods whom on Antenor's mount the 
seer ^ who drank the waters of Euganean Timavus 
saw stirring up the Thessalian battle ; nor of those 
whom Amphiaraus and Melampus . . . (nor of) the 
gods that Metellus * snatched even from the midst 
of the burning, when the flames surged ruinously 
through the temple, and he rejoiced in the loss of 

the help of Etruscan experts was frequently enlisted on such 
occasions. Sidonius is probably thinking of the Puteal Libonis 
in the Roman Forum. 

' Cornelius, a priest, was said to have seen at Patavium 
a vision of the battle of Pharsalia. Sidonius i& thinking of 
Lucan VII. 192 sqq., where the story is related with con- 
siderable scepticism. For Euganeum see n. on 2. 189. 

* L. Caecilius Metellus, Pontifex Maximus, rescued the 
Palladium when the temple of Vesta caught fire in 241 B.C. 
His bravery cost him his eyesight. The generalising plural 
dei is often used of an action affecting one deity. 



non hie Cinj^hius canetur Hammon 

mitratum caput elevans harenis, 

vix se post hecatombion litatum 

suetus promere Syrtium barathro. 

non hie Dindyma nee erepante buxo 205 

Curetas Bereeynthiam sonantes, 

non Baeehum trieteriea exserentem 

deseribam et tremulas furore festo 

ire in Bassaridas vel infulatos 

aram ad turicremam rotare mystas. 210 

Non hie Hesiodea pinguis Ascrae 
speetes carmina Pindarique chordas ; 
non hie soceiferi ioeos Menandri, 
non laesi Arehilochi feros iambos, 
vel plus Stesiehori graves Camenas, 215 

aut quod composuit puella Lesbis ; 
non quod Mantua eontumax Homero 
adiecit Latiaribus loquehs, 
aequari sibimet subinde livens 

busto Parthenopam Maroniano ; 220 

non quod post saturas epistularum 
sermonumque sales novumque epodon, 
libros carminis ac poetieam artem 

216. Lesbis Luetjohann : lesbi. 

221. post ieo: per codd., quod reiineri potest si valuit {Luei- 
johann) in v. 225 legos. 

^ It is surprising to find (H)amnion wearing a mitra on his 
homed head. Bacchus is so represented in Sen. Phaedr. 756, 
and Sidonius may have had a confused recollection of that 
passage. By Syrtes here Sidonius may mean "the land near 
the Syrtes " ; the Roman poets are always ready to bring any 
Libyan lands near to those famous gulfs ; see 5. 263 sq. and 
Lucan IV. 673, confnis Syriibus Hammon. He may, however, 
be alluding to the fact, that the land extending from the Syrtes 
to the oasis of Ammon had formerly been covered by the sea; 
see Strabo I. 3. 4. 


his sight. Here no Cinyphian Hammon ^ shall be 
sung, who raises his snooded head among the desert 
sands and even after auspicious sacrifice of a heca- 
tomb will scarce show himself from the depths of 
the Syrtes ; nor shall I picture Dindyma or the Curetes 
sounding on murmuring box-pipe the praises of the 
Berecynthian Mother ; nor Bacchus, as he brings forth 
his triennial festival and invades the Bassarids quiver- 
ing with the frenzy of the feast and whirls his fillet- 
crowned votaries beside the incense-burning altar. 

Not here shall you behold the Hesiodic strains of 
sluggish Ascra or Pindar's lyre; nor the jests of 
Menander, wearer of comedy's sock; nor the 
savage lampoons of the injured Archilochus ; nor 
the graver muse of Stesichorus or the song fashioned 
by the Lesbian maid; nor that which Mantua, 
defying Homer's supremacy, added to Latin utter- 
ance — Mantua, soon jealous that Parthenope matched 
her by possessing Virgil's tomb ; nor the notes that 
Horace was fain to sound when he penned the 
praises of Phoebus and roaming Diana after the 
medleys of the Epistles, ^ the witty sallies of the 

' Sidoniiis seems to be playing on the word saiura by using 
it in its old sense of " medley " and applying it to the Epistles, 
not the Satires, of Horace. Horace refers to his Satires as 
aaiurae as well as sermones. In Suetonius' life of the poet a 
phrase from the Epistles is said to occur in saturis ; but this is 
probably an inadvertence, though Hendrickson in ^m. Joum. 
Phil. XVIII (1897), pp. 313-324, uses it, along with the present 
passage (wrongly punctuated with commas after saturas and 
eale^) and other inconclusive evidence, to prove that the 
ancients assigned the Epistles as well as the Satires to the 
literary genre called saiura (or satira). Line 224 refers to the 
Carmen Saeculare, the first line of which is Phoebe silvarumqwe. 
potens Diana, but it was not the latest work of Horace, as is 
implied if the reading here given is correct. 



Phoebi laudibus et vagae Dianae 

conscriptis voluit sonare Flaccus ; 225 

non quod Papinius tuus meusque 

inter Labdacios sonat furores 

aut cum forte pedum minore rhythmo 

pingit gemmea prata silvularum. 

Non quod Corduba praepotens alumnis 230 

facundum ciet, hie putes legendum, 
quorum unus colit hispidum Platona 
incassumque suum monet Neronera, 
orchestram quatit alter Euripidis, 
pictum faecibus Aeschylon secutus 235 

aut plaustris solitum sonare Thespin, 
qui post pulpita trita sub cothurno 
ducebant olidae marem capellae ; 
pugnam tertius ille Gallicani 

dixit Caesaris, ut gener socerque 240 

cognata impulerint in arma Romam, 
tantum dans lacrimas suis Philippis, 
ut credat Cremerae levem ruinam, 
infra et censeat Alliam dolendam 
ac Brenni in trutina lovem redemptum, 245 

postponat Trebiam gravesque Cannas, 
stragem nee Trasimenicam loquatur, 
fratres Scipiadas putet silendos, 
quos Tartesiacus retentat orbis, 

* The Thebais and Silvae of Statius. 

2 Referring to the long hair and beard typical of the philo- 
sopher : of. Epist. IV. 11.1. 

^ Sidonius wrongly regards the philosopher Seneca as dis- 
tinct from the writer of tragedies. 

* Cf. Hor. ^.P. 276sq. 

* Hor. ib. 220. « Lucan. 



Satires, the new-fangled Epodes, the books of Odes 
and the Art of Poetry ; nor what Papinius, dear to 
you and to me, utters amid the frenzy of the house 
of Labdacus, or when in shorter-footed measure 
he portrays the begemmed meads of his Httle 
" Silvae."^ 

Nor must you expect to read here the eloquence 
called forth by Corduba, great in her sons, of whom 
one is devoted to the unkempt ^ Plato and vainly 
admonishes his pupil Nero, another ^ rouses again 
the stage of Euripides and also follows Aeschylus, 
who painted his face with wine-lees, and Thespis, 
who was wont to give utterance from waggons,* 
bards who after treading the stage with their buskins 
used to lead away the mate of a fetid she-goat : '^ 
third of Corduba 's sons was he who sang the fight 
of Caesar the Gallic conqueror,^ how a father and his 
daughter's husband drove Rome into a war of 
kinsfolk;' and so bitterly does he weep for his 
Philippi ^ that he deems the disaster of Cremera a 
trifle, he avers that Allia ^ and the ransom of Jupiter ^^ 
in the scales of Brennus are less to be lamented, 
he holds Trebia ^^ and dire Cannae ^^ of less moment, 
he has naught to say of Trasimene's slaughter, he 
thinks those Scipios not worth a w ord whom the region 
of Tartessus holds, he takes no account of the ruinous 

' Cognata arma probably alludes to Lucan's cognatas 
acies, I. 4. 

8 Philippi, i.e. Pharsalia. Poets (Verg. Georg I. 489 sq.) 
often place Philippi and Pharsalia in the same region. The 
very first line of Lucan places Pharsalia in Macedonia. 
» Lucan VII. 409. 

1° lovem, i.e. the Capitol, the habitation of Jupiter. 
" Lucan II. 46. 
12 ib. II. 46, VII. 408. 



Euphraten taceat male appetitum, 2.50 

Crassorum et madidas cruore Carrhas 

vel quos, Spartace, consulum solebas 

victrici gladios fugare sica, 

ipsum nee fleat ille plus duellum, 

quod post Cimbrica turbidus tropaea 255 

et vinctum Nasamonium lugurtham, 

dum quaerit Mithridaticum triumphum, 

Arpinas voluit movere Sullae. 

Non Gaetulicus hie tibi legetur, 
non Marsus, Pedo, Silius, TibuUus, 260 

non quod Sulpiciae iocus Thaliae 
seripsit blandiloquum suo Caleno, 
non Persi rigor aut lepos Properti, 
sed nee centimeter Terentianus. 

non Lucilius hie Lucretiusque est, 265 

non Turnus, Memor, Ennius, Catullus, 
Stella et Septimius Petroniusque 
aut mordax sine fine Martialis, 
non qui tempore Caesaris secundi 
aeterno incoluit Tomos reatu, 270 

^ This and the previous line probably refer to Lucan I. 
10 sqq., though the poet does not there say that the disaster 
of Carrhae was of little account compared with the Civil 
War; he merely says that the Romans would have done 
better to avenge Carrhae than to fight among themselves. 
In I. 103-108 he makes the disaster of Carrhae and the death 
of Crassus responsible for the Civil War. 

2 Cf. Luc. II. 67-133. 

' In Martial I. prdef. (which Sidonius probably ha'd in mind) 
Gaetulicus, Marsus and Pedo are mentioned as epigrammatists. 
Gaetuhcus, after a distinguished official career, was put to 
death by Caligula, a.d. 39. He is sometimes credited with 
a historical work, but it was probably an epic poem. He is 
mentioned again by Sidonius in Epist. II. 10. 6. Domitius 
Marsus, an Augustan poet, wrote, besides epigrams, versified 



attempt on the Euphrates and of Carrhae drenched 
with the blood of the Crassi,^ or of the consuls whose 
swords Spartacus was wont to rout v/ith victorious 
dagger; nay, he does not bewail more bitterly 
that war which the man of Arpinum, wild with 
arrogance after his Cimbric trophies and the en- 
chainment of Nasamonian Jugurtha, and seeking 
next a Mithridatic triumph, was fain to stir up against 

Here you shall read no Gaetulicus, Marsus, Pedo,^ 
Silius, or TibuUus, nor the winsome words which 
Sulpicia's * sprightly muse wrote to her Calenus, 
nor the sternness of Persius nor the liveliness of 
Propertius, nor yet Terentianus of the hundred 
metres.^ Here is no Lucilius, no Lucretius, Tumus, 
Memor,^ Ennius, Catullus, Stella,'' Septimius,^ or 
Petronius, no Martial 'v\ith his constant bite, nor 
he who in the days of the second Caesar dwelt at 
Tomi,^ a prisoner never absolved ; nor he who later 

tales and an epic. Albino vanus Pedo was a friend of Ovid. 
He wrote an epic called Theseis and a poem (of which an inter- 
esting fragment is preserved) on the exploits of (Jermanicus 
in the North, 

* Sulpicia, a writer of love-poetry in the time of Domitian. 
Calenus was her husband. The satura which goes under her 
name probably belongs to a later age. 

' centimeter : apparently a popular designation of writers 
on metre, perhaps suggested by the work of Servius, De Centum 
Metria. The reference is to Terentianus Maurus. 

' Tumus, a satirist, Memor, a writer of tragedies, in the 
age of Domitian. 

' L. Amintius Stella, a native of Padua, often mentioned 
by his friends Martial and Statins. He wrote love-elegies 
celebrating Violentilla, who became his wife. 

* In all probability Septimius Serenus, mentioned in 14 
Praef. 3, a poet of the age of Hadrian, who wrote opuscula on 
rural themes. • Ovid : cf. 23. 158 sqq. 



nee qui eonsimili deinde easu 

ad vulgi tenuem strepentis auram 

irati fuit histrionis exsul, 

non Pelusiaeo satus Canopo, 

qui ferruginei toros mariti 275 

et Musa canit inferos superna, 

nee qui iam patribus fuere nostris 

primo tempore maximi sodales, 

quorum unus Bonifatium secutus 

nee non praeeipitem Sebastianum 280 

natales puer horruit Cadurcos 

plus Pandionias amans Athenas ; 

cuius si varium legas poema, 

tunc Phoebum vel Hyantias puellas 

potato madidas ab Hippocrene, 285 

tunc Amphiona filiumque Maiae, 

tune vatem Rhodopeium sonare 

conlato modulamine arbitreris. 

Non tu hie nunc legeris tuumque fulmen, 
o dignissime Quintianus alter, 290 

spernens qui Ligurum solum et penates 
mutato lare Gallias amasti, 
inter classica, signa, pila, turmas 
laudans Aetium vacansque libro, 
in eastris hederate laureatis. 295 

sed nee tertius ille nunc legetur, 
Baetin qui patrium semel relinquens 

295. hederate laureatis Chatelain : (h)edera ter laureatus. 

^ On the stories of Juvenal's banishment see DufiF's ed., 
pp. x-xiii, Plessis, La Poesie latine 633-641 (discussion of 
the present passage on p. 635). 

2 Claudian, De Baptu Proserpinae. 



by a like misfortune, on the stirring of a breath of 
vulgar gossip, became the exiled victim of an angry 
actor 1 ; nor that son of Egyptian Canopus who of 
the dusky bridegroom's marriage and of the denizens 
of hell doth sing with his heavenly muse ; ^ nor those 
who even in their earliest days were the greatest 
of our fathers' comrades, of whom one,^ following 
Boniface and the headstrong Sebastian, abhorred in 
boyhood his native Cadurcans,* loving Pandion's 
Athens more : were you to read his varied poems, 
then would you think that Phoebus was giving 
utterance, and the Boeotian maids, their lips all 
moist with draughts of Hippocrene, and Amphion 
too and the son of Maia and the bard of Rhodope, 
all contributing their melody. 

Nor does the reader now find thee here, Quintianus,^ 
the second of the three, with thy thunderbolt, who 
spurning thy Ligurian soil and home didst change 
thine abode and give Gaul thy love, and didst sing the 
praises of Aetius amid trumpet-calls, standards, 
spears, and troops, sparing time for the pen as for the 
sword, a bard ivy-crowned in a belaurelled camp. 
Nor shall the reader here find that other ,^ the third of 
the band, who leaving once for all his native Baetis 

' The name of this poet is unknown. Sebastian succeeded 
his father-in-law Boniface as magister utriusque militiae in a.d. 
432. After an adventurous career ho finally betook himself to 
Geiseric, who put him to death in a.d. 450 because he would 
not abjure the Catholic faith. 

* In Aquitaine, S.W. of the Arvemi. 
^ Quintianus, not otherwise known. 

* Flavins Merobaudes. The inscription attached to his 
statue has been found (C. I. L. vi. 1724, Dessau 2950). Its 
date is a.d. 435. The princeps {v. 300) is Valentinian III; 
this reference to him is astonishingly kind after 7. 359 and 
532 &. In 23. 214 he is pitis princeps. 



undosae petiit sitim Ravennae, 

plo sores cui fulgidam Quirites 

et carus popularitate princeps 300 

Traiano statuam foro locarunt. 

Sed ne tu mihi comparare temptes, 
quos multo minor ipse plus adoro, 
Paulinum Ampeliumque Symmachumque. 
Messalam ingenii satis profundi 305 

et nulli modo Martium secundum, 
dicendi arte nova parem vetustis 
Petrum et cum loquitur nimis stupendura, 
vel quern municipalibus poetis 

praeponit bene vilicum senatus, 310 

nostrum aut quos retinet solum disertos, 
dulcem Anthedion et mihi magistri 
Musas sat venerabiles Hoeni, 
acrem Lampridium, catum Leonem 
praestantemque tuba Severianum 315 

^ This jest about Ravenna is found in Martial III. 5G 
and 57, and is repeated by Sidonius in Epist. 1.8. 2 ; of. ib. 
I. 6. 6. 

* Paulinum, probably not Pontius Paulinus {Epist. VIII. 
12. 5), son of Pontius Leontius, whose " Castle " is celebrated 
in Carm. 22. This line seems to refer to (epistolary ?) wTiters 
of the age of Symmachus, and GaUo-Roman writers seem to 
be excluded from this part of the paragraph (see v. 311). 
The reference may possibly be to Paulinus of Nola, who, 
though a native of Gaul, came to be closely associated with Italy. 

^ The Ampelius mentioned here is supposed to be P. Am- 
pelius, who held several high offices of state in the fourth 
century. He died not later than 397. He was a corre- 
spondent of Libanius. 

* Valerius Messala is highly praised for his eloquence by 
Symmachus, who wrote several letters to him. He is probably 
the Messala praised by Rutilius Namatianus, 1. 267 sqq. 

* Probably not Martius Myro (23. 444). 



betook himself to that place of thirst, well-watered 
Ravenna,^ and to whom the acclaiming citizens of 
Rome and the Emperor so beloved for his gracious- 
ness set up a gleaming statue in Trajan's Forum. 

And try not, gentle reader, to compare me with 
those whom I, vastly their inferior, worship all the 
more, Paulinus,^ Ampelius,^ and Symmachus, Mes- 
sala * of genius so profound, Martius,^ second to 
none in these times, Petrus,® equal of the ancients 
in the modern style of eloquence and a marvel to 
all when he speaks, or that steward ^ whom the 
senate rightly prefers to the poets of the towns ; 
or those men of gifted utterance whom our soil 
possesses, charming Anthedius,^ my master Hoenius, 
whose muse commands my deepest reverence, 
spirited Lampridius,^ shrewd Leo,^^ and Severi- 

« 3. 5 n. 

' Vilicum is not likely to be a proper name. Juvenal (IV. 77) 
uses the word of a praefectus urbi. The mention of the Senate 
in V. 310 makes it probable that Sidonius is thinking of that 
passage and referring to a contemporary prefect ; in his day 
the jpraef. urbi was president of the Senate. We do not possess 
a complete list of the city prefects for the period in which this 
poem must have been written, and there is no evidence that 
an}"^ of the known prefects was a poet. Sidonius plays on the 
ordinary meaning of vilicus, " farm-bailiff." 

« Anthedius, a friend of Sidonius; 22 epist. § 2; Epist. VIII. 
11. 2. Hoenius is not otherwise known. 

* Lampridius taught rhetoric at Bordeaux. For an appreci- 
ation of him see Epist. VIII. 11.3 sqq. ; on his poetical talent 
Epist. IX. 13. 2 carm. 20 sq. and § 4. He gained favour with 
Euric, and Sidonius seems in Epist. VIII. 9 to angle for his 
good offices with that king. 

^° Leo, a native of Narbonne, descended from Fronto {Epist. 
VIII. 3. 3), lauded as a poet (cf. 23. 450-4, Epist IX. 13. 2, 
carm. 20; ib. IX. 15. 1, carm. 19 sq.) and as a jurist (23. 447). 
He became a minister of Euric, and no doubt helped to 
procure the release of Sidonius ; see Introd., p. xlix. 



et sic scribere non minus valentem, 
Marcus Quintilianus ut solebat. 

Nos valde sterilis modos Camenae 
rarae credimus hos brevique chartae, 
quae scombros merito piperque portet. 320 

nam quisnam deus hoc dabit reiectae, 
ut vel suscipiens bonos odores, 
nardum ac pinguia Nicerotianis 
quae fragrant alabastra tincta sucis, 
Indo cinnamon ex rogo petitum, 325 

quo Phoenix iuvenescit occidendo, 
costum, malobathrum, rosas, amomum, 
myrrham, tus opobalsamumque servet? 
quapropter facinus meum tuere 
et condiscipuli tibi obsequentis 330 

incautum, precor, asseras pudorem. 
germanum tamen ante sed memento, 
doctrinae columen, Probum advocare, 
isti qui valet exarationi 

destrictum bonus apphcare theta. 335 

novi sed bene, non refello culpam, 
nee doctis placet impudens poeta ; 
sed nee turgida contumeliosi 
lectoris nimium verebor ora, 

si tamquam gravior severiorque 340 

nostrae Terpsichores iocum refutans 
rugato Cato tertius labello 
narem rhinoceroticam minetur. 
non te terreat hie nimis peritus ; 
verum si cupias probare, tanta 345 

nullus scit, mihi crede, quanta nescit. 
324. flagrant codd. 

^ Severianus, poet and rhetorician: see Epist. IX. 13. 4; 
IX. 15. 1 carm. 37. He may be the lulius Severianus who is 
the reputed compiler of a collection of rhetorical precepts still 


anus,^ who excels in trumpet-tones and is no less apt 
in such writing as Marcus Quintilianus used to pen. 

As for these measures of my sadly barren muse, I 
rarely commit them to a papyrus-sheet, and then 
only to a short one ,2 which would rightly be used 
for carrying mackerel or pepper — for what god will 
ever grant to my scorned sheet even the small boon 
of sniffing pleasant scents and being used for wrap- 
ping nard and oily alabaster flasks fragrant with 
Nicerotian ^ essences, and cinnamon got from the 
Indian * pyre where the Phoenix renews his youth by 
dying, and costum and malobathrum and roses and 
amomum and incense and opobalsamum? There- 
fore defend my audacious deed and vindicate, I pray 
you, in its rash escapade the modesty of a school- 
fellow who is but obeying your orders. But re- 
member first to call in that pillar of learning, your 
brother Probus, who is able, with all his kindness, 
to attach a stern obelus to this scribbling. But I 
know it well, I am not clearing myself of guilt, and 
a shameless poet does not please the well-instructed. 
And yet I shall not dread excessively the pompous 
mouthing of an abusive reader, should he, with an 
air of superior gravity and sternness, like a third 
Cato, spurn the jesting of my Terpsichore, purse his 
lips and threaten me with the contemptuous nose of a 
rhinoceros. Let not this too consummate pundit 
frighten you. If you would get at the real truth, beUeve 
me, nobody knows as many things as he doesn't know. 

extant {Rhet. Min., Halm, pp. 350-370), but there is nothing 
to prove it. Tuba probably refers to Epic poetry. 

* See Introd., p. Iv, n. 1. 

» An epithet borrowed from Martial (VI. 55. 3, X. 38. 8). 
Niceros was a famous perfumer in the time of Domitian. 

* See n. on Krythras, 2. 447. ^ 




Flucticolae cum festa nurus Pagasaea per antra 

rupe sub Emathia Pelion explicuit, 
angustabat humum superum satis ampla supellex ; 

certabant gazis hinc polus hinc pelagus ; 
ducebatque chores viridi prope tectus amictu 5 

caeruleae pallae concolor ipse socer; 
nympha quoque in thalamos veniens de gurgite nuda 

vestiti coepit membra timere viri. 
tum divum quicumque aderat terrore remote 

quo quis pollebat lusit in officio. 10 

luppiter emisit tepidum sine pondere fulmen 

et dixit: " melius nunc Cytherea calet." 
Pollux tum caestu laudatus, Castor habenis, 

Pallas tum cristis, Delia tum pharetris; 
Alcides clava, Mavors tum lusit in hasta, 15 

Areas tum virga, nebride tum Bromius. 
hie et Pipliadas induxerat optimus Orpheus 

chordis, voce, manu, carminibus, calamis. 
ambitiosus Hymen totas ibi contulit artes ; 

qui non ingenio, fors placuit genio. 20 

1 Ruricius (to whom Epist. IV. 16, V. 15, VIII. 10 are 

addressed) was a member of a noble family comiected with the 
gens Anicia. Hiberia, whom he married, was the daughter 
of Ommatius, an Arvernian of good family who does not seem 
to have taken much part in public life. Ruricius afterwards 





When Pelion displayed the marriage-feast of the 
sea-maiden ^ in a Pagasaean cave beneath an 
Emathian crag, the stately pageantry of the gods 
taxed the ground to hold it ; on this side the sky, on 
that the sea vied one with the other in their treasures, 
and the song and dance were led by the bride's 
father almost hidden in his green robe and himself 
of the same hue as his sea-coloured mantle. The 
nymph also, coming naked from the waves to her 
marriage, was seized with fear of the bridegroom's 
draped form. Then every god that was present laid 
aside his dreadfulness and exhibited a playful version 
of his special power. Jupiter hurled a thunderbolt 
that had heither heat nor force, and said, ** At this 
time it is more fitting for our lady of Cythera to show 
warmth." Pollux then won praise with the boxing- 
glove, Castor with reins, Pallas with her plumed 
helm, the Delian goddess with her arrows ; Hercules 
frolicked with his club, Mars with his spear, the 
Arcadian god with his wand, Bromius with the fawn- 
skin. At this moment the Muses also had been 
introduced by the incomparable Orpheus with strings, 
voice, hand, songs, and reeds. Hymen, eager to 
show off, mustered there all arts, and he who did not 
give pleasure by his merit gave pleasure behke by 

entered the Church, and in a.d. 485 became Bishop of Limoges. 
We possess two books of his letters, written mostly before his 
episcopate. Two letters are addressed to Sidonius. 
• Thetis, daughter of Nereus, bride of Peleus. 



Fescennina tamen non sunt admissa priusquam 
intonuit solita noster Apollo lyra. 



[Inter Cyaneas, Ephyraea cacumina, cautes 
qua super Idalium levat Orithyion in aethram 
exesi sale montis apex, ubi forte vagantem 
dum fugit et fixit trepidus Symplegada Tiphys, 
atque recurrentem ructatum ad rauca Maleam,] 5 
exit in Isthmiacum pelagus claudentibus alis 
saxorum de rupe sinus, quo saepe recessu 
sic tamquam toto coeat de lumine caeli, 
artatur collecta dies tremulasque per undas 
insequitur secreta vadi, transmittitur alto 10 

perfusus splendor e latex, mirumque relatu, 
lympha bibit solem tenuique inserta fluento 
perforat arenti radio lux sicca liquorem. 

Profecit studio spatium ; nam Lemnius illic 
ceu templum lusit Veneri fulmenque relinquens 15 
hie ferrugineus fumavit saepe Pyragmon. 
hie lapis est de quinque locis dans quinque colores 
Aethiops, Phrygius, Parius, Poenus, Lacedaemon, 

2. orithion codd. 

11. mirumque Jilohr et in adnot. Luetjohann : miroque. 

^ ingenio . . . genio, an antithesis found in several other 
places, but the meaning of genius varies. Here it probably 
means " geniality," " mirthfulness." See n. on 2. 191. 

* i.e. the Apollo of us poets. 

^ The first five lines of this difficult poem are an unintelligible 
jumble, and v. 5 cannot even be construed. Vv. 3 and 4 
may be by Sidonius ; if we retain them and omit w. 1 and 2 
sinus will be ace. plur. after claudentibus, and should probably 
be altered to sinum. Corinth is prominent in the Ai-gonautic 



his spirit.^ But Fescennine jests were not admitted 
until our Apollo ^ had made his song ring forth on the 
familiar lyre. 



[Between the Dark-blue Rocks, Ephyra's peaks, 
where the summit of a sea-worn mountain raises 
Orithyion above Idalium * to the sky, in which place, 
as it chanced, the wandering Symplegades were 
fixed fast by the trembling Tiphys even as he fled 
from them, . . .] there emerges into the sea of the 
Isthmus a bay enclosed by wings of piled rocks jutting 
from the cliff; in which retreat, just as if the whole 
radiance of the sky were concentrated there, ^ the 
daylight is gathered together into a naiTow space, and 
penetrating the quivering waters it searches out the 
secluded depths, and so the ripples pass on, bathed in 
deep-shining brightness, and, wondrous to tell, the 
water drinks in the sun and the light, pushed into 
the limpid stream, bores unwetted through the wet 
with arid ray. 

This site favoured a labour of love ; for there the 
Lemnian god amused himself by building a mimic 
temple for Venus, and swarthy Pyragmon, abandon- 
ing the thunderbolt, raised his smoke in the place 
many a time. Here is stone from five regions, giving 
forth five hues, Aethiopian, Phrygian, Parian, Punic, 

legend, but it is very surprising to find the Symplegades in its 
neighbourhood. For the legend of the storm encountered by 
the Argonauts ofiE Cape Malea (to which v. 5 must refer) see 
Herodotus IV. 179. 

* Or " raises up Idalian Orithyion " — whatever that may 



purpureus, viridis, maculosus, eburnus et albus. 

postes chrysolithi fulvus difFulgurat ardor; 20 

myrrhina, sardonyches, amethystus Hiberus, iaspis 

Indus, Chalcidicus, Scythicus, beryllus, achates 

attollunt duplices argenti cardine valvas, 

per quas inclusi lucem vomit umbra smaragdi; 

limina crassus onyx crustat propterque hyacinth! 25 

caerula concordem iaciunt in stagna colorem. 

exterior non compta silex, sed prominet alte 

asper ab adsiduo lympharum verbere pumex. 

interiore loco simulavit Mulciber auro 

exstantes late scopulos atque arte magistra 30 

ingenti cultu naturae inculta fefellit, 

huic operi insistens, quod necdum noverat ilia 

quae post Lemniacis damnavit furta catenis. 

squameus hue Triton duplicis confinia dorsi, 

qua coeunt supra sinuamina tortilis alvi, 35 

inter aquas calido portavit corde Dionen. 

sed premit adiecto radiantis pondere conch ae 

semiferi Galatea latus, quod pollice fixo 

vellit, et occulto spondet conubia tactu; 

tum gaudens torquente ioco subridet amator 40 

vulnere iamque suam parcenti pistre flagellat. 

pone subit turmis flagrantibus agmen Amorum; 

hie cohibet delphina rosis, viridique iuvenco 

hie vectus spretis pendet per cornua frenis ; 

26. iaciunt Luetjohann in adnot. ; faciunt. 

^ The descriptions, if placed in the same order as the stones, 
would have been " purple (see 5. 34 sqq. n.), spotted, white, 
ivory (5. 37 sq. n.), green." 

2 GhalcidictLs probably refers to chalcitis, a copper-coloured 
gem (Plin. N. H. XXXVII. 191). Scythicus refers to the 
Scythian emerald, said by Plinv {N. H. XXXVII. 65) to be 
the finest of all : cf. Martial IV. 28. 4. 



Spartan — purple, green, mottled, ivory, white. ^ The 
yellow glow of topaz flashes through the doorpost ; 
porcelain, sardonyx, Caucasian amethyst, Indian 
jasper, Chalcidian and Scythian stones ,2 beryl and 
agate, form the double doors that rise upon silver 
pivots, and through these doors the shadowy recess 
beyond pours out the sheen of the emeralds that are 
within. Onyx thickly encrusts the threshold, and 
hard by the blue colour of amethyst casts upon the 
lagoon a harmonious hue. Outside is no dressed 
stone, but towering walls of rock that has been 
roughened by the constant lashing of the waters. 
In the inner part Mulciber mimicked in gold the crags 
that rise up far and wide, and with his skill to guide 
him counterfeited with mighty art the artless crea- 
tions of Nature, plying his work diligently — for not 
yet did he know of that deception which afterwards 
he punished with his Lemnian chains. Hither scaly 
Triton with heart aflame bore amid the waters 
Venus, seated where the boundaries of his double 
back meet above the windings of his writhing belly.* 
But Galatea has brought up close to him her weighty, 
glittering shell, and presses his side, which she pinches 
with inserted thumb, promising by that stealthy touch 
connubial bliss ; whereupon the lover, rejoicing in 
that torturing jest, smiles at the wound and anon 
lashes his beloved with a gentle stroke of his fishy 
tail. Behind them comes a column of Loves in 
ardent squadrons ; one controls a dolphin with reins 
of roses, another rides on a green sea-calf, despising 
bridle's aid and clinging to the horns ; others are on 

' The nether half of this merman is fishy, the fore part 
human; the former is in perpetual motion as he propels 
himself by lashing the water. Venus is seated on his back, 
just clear of the agitated fishy half. 



hi stantes motu titubant plantaque madenti 45 

labuntur firmantque pedum vestigia pennis. 

Ilia recurvato demiserat ora lacerto 
mollia; marcebant violae graviorque sopore 
coeperat attritu florum descendere cervix, 
solus de numero fratrum qui pulchrior ille est 50 
deerat Amor, dum festa parat celeberrima Gallis, 
quae socer Ommatius, magnorum maior avorum 
patriciaeque nepos gentis, natae generoque 
excolit auspiciis faustis. sed fulsit ut ille 
forte dies, matrem celeri petit ipse volatu, 55 

cui fax, arcus, gorytus pendebat. at ille 
cernuus et laevae pendens in margine palmae 
libratos per inane pedes adverberat alis, 
oscula sic matris carpens somnoque refusae 
semisopora levi scalpebat lumina penna. 60 

turn prior his alacer coepit : " nova gaudia porto 
felicis praedae, genetrix. calet ille superbus 
Ruricius nostris facibus dulcique veneno 
tactus votivum suspirat corde dolorem. 
esset si praesens aetas, impenderet illi 65 

Lemnias imperium, Cressa stamen lab} rinthi, 
Alceste vitam, Circe herbas, poma Calypso, 
Scylla comas, Atalanta pedes, Medea furores, 

^ "as . . . wakefulness." L. C. Purser's rendering. The 
context seems to show that this is the meaning, although, 
curiously enough, somno refiLsa might also mean "sinking back 
in sleep " : cf. Lucan VIII. 105, reftisa coniugis in gremium. 

2 Hypsip3^1e. 

^ The form Alceste occurs also in 15. 165. The only other 
certain instance is in an inscription (C. I. L. VI. 34964), 
where it does not refer to the mythological character. 

* Scylla was the daughter of Nisus, king of Megara. He 
had one red lock in his hair, and on its preservation depended 
his life and fortune. When Minos was besieging Megara, 
Scylla, who had fallen in love with him, severed her father's 


foot, swaying with the motion, slipping on their 
dripping soles and steadying their steps with their 

Venus had let her soft cheek rest upon her bended 
arm; the violets about her grew languid and 
her neck had begun to sink, ever heavier with 
slumber as the flowers pressed against her. Of 
all the troop of brothers one alone was missing, 
the Love-god, the fairest of them all; for he 
was contriving a glorious marriage-feast for the 
Gauls, a feast that the bride's father Ommatius, 
scion of a patrician race and the greatest of his great 
line, was gracing with splendour for his daughter and 
her bridegroom amid happy auguries. But when in 
due course the great day da\vned, then the god with 
swift flight sought his mother, with torch, bow, and 
quiver slung upon him. Stooping down and resting 
on the edge of his left hand, vdth his wings he lashed 
his feet, as they hung poised in the air, and thus he 
snatched kisses from his mother ; and as she floated 
back into wakefulness ^ he began to graze her half- 
slumbering eyes with the light touch of a feather. 
Then before she could speak he briskly addressed 
her thus : " I bring you a new joy. Mother, the joy 
of a happy capture. That proud Ruricius is set 
aflame by our torch ; he has caught the sweet poison 
and heaves sighs of welcome pain. If those olden 
times were now, the maid of Lemnos ^ would have 
lavished on him her sovereignty, the Cretan maid 
the thread for the labyrinth, Alcestis ^ her life, Circe 
her magic herbs, Calypso her apples, Scylla * the fatal 
hair, Atalanta her swift feet, Medea her mad passions, 

red lock. This story is the subject of the Ciris, one of the 
minor works attributed to Virgil. 


Hippodame ceras, cygno love nata coronam ; 

huic Dido in ferrum, simul in suspendia Phyllis, 70 

Euadne in flammas et Sestias isset in undas." 

His haec ilia refert : " Gaudemus, nate, rebellem 
quod vincis laudasque virum ; sed forma puellae est 
quam si spectasset quondam Stheneboeius heros, 
non pro contemptu domuisset monstra Chimaerae ; 75 
Thermodontiaca vel qui genetrice superbus 
sprevit Gnosiacae temeraria vota novercae, 
hac visa occiderat, fateor, sed crimine vero ; 
et si iudicio forsan mihi quarta fuisset, 
me quoque Rhoetea damnasset pastor in Ida; 80 
* vincere vel, si optas, istam da, malo, puellam ' 
dixerat : banc dederam formam pro munere forraae. 
tantus honor geniusque genis ; collata rubori 
pallida blatta latet depressaque lumine vultus 
nigrescunt vincto bacarum fulgura coUo. 85 

te quoque multimodis ambisset, Hiberia, ludis 
axe Pelops, cursu Hippomenes luctaque Achelous, 
Aeneas bellis spectatus, Gorgone Perseus ; 
nee minus haec species totiens cui luppiter esset 

81 . dist. ego : vincere passivum est. 

89. minus ego : minor. Vid. Class. Quart., loc. cit., p. 20. 

1 Hippodamia : for ceras cf. 2. 492. 

' Helen crowned Menelaus with a garland to signify that 
she had chosen him from among her many suitors. Hygin. 
Fab. 78. 

' Phyllis, daughter of a Thracian king, hanged herself 
when Demophon, who had promised to return from Athens 
and marry her, did not appear on the appointed day. 

* When her husband Capaneus had been killed in the assault 
of the " Seven" upon Thebes, she leaped into the flames of 
his pyre. 

^ Hero threw herself into the sea after the death of Leander. 

• Bellerophon : see 6. 178. 



Flippodame ^ her wax, Jupiter's swan-daughter her 
crown 2 ; for him Dido would have rushed upon the 
sword, PhylHs to the halter,^ Evadne into the flames,* 
the maid of Sestos into the waves." ^ 

His mother answered: " I rejoice, my son, that 
thou dost both vanquish and praise that stubborn 
resister. But the maid's beauty is such that if the 
hero whom Sthenoboea loved in bygone days ^ had be- 
held her he would not have had to overcome the dread 
Chimaera through slighting her charms; he who, 
arrogantly proud of his Amazon mother,' spurned the 
reckless prayers of his Cretan stepmother, would, if he 
had seen the maid, have been doomed indeed, but on a 
true charge ; nay, if she had chanced to contend 
with me as a fourth competitor in the trial of beauty, 
then the shepherd on Rhoetean Ida would have 
given his verdict even against me. * Lose the 
contest,' he would have said to me, * or, if thou 
choosest (and this I prefer), give the girl to me ; ' 
and I should have given him all that beauty in return 
for the prize of beauty. Such are the charm and 
comeliness of her cheeks that compared with their 
radiance the purple pales into nothingness, and the 
gleam of the pearls that encircle her neck is dimmed 
to darkness by the light of her countenance. ® Her 
also would men have wooed by all manner of exploits, 
Pelops attesting his prowess by his chariot, Hip- 
pomenes ^ by running, Achelous by wrestling, Aeneas 
by wars, Perseus by the Gorgon. Yea, hers is the 
beauty for whose sake Jupiter would so oft have 

' Hippolytus was the son of Theseus and Hippolyte. queen 
of the Amazons. 

* The following passage is discussed in Class. Quart. XXVl II 
(1934), p. 20. 

• See 5. 165-176, 14. 13-15. 



Delia, taurus, olor, Satynis, draco, fulmen et 
aurum. 90 

quare age, iungantur; nam census, forma genusque 
conveniunt : nil hie dispar tua fixit harundo. 
sed quid vota moror ? " dixit currumque poposcit, 
cui dederant crystalla iugum, quae frigore primo, 
orbis adhuc teneri glacies ubi Caucason auget, 95 
strinxit Hyperboreis Tanaitica crusta pruinis 
naturam sumens gemmae quia perdidit undae. 
perforat hunc fulvo formatus temo metallo; 
miserat hoc fluvius cuius sub gurgite Nymphae 
Mygdonium fovere Midam. qui pauper in auro 100 
ditavit versis Pactoli flumina votis. 
splendet perspicuo radios rota margine cingens 
Marmaricae de fauce ferae, dum belua curvis 
dentibus excussis gemit exarmarier ora; 
misit et hoc munus tepidas qui nudus Erythras, 105 
concolor Aethiopi vel crinem pinguis amomo, 
fluxus odoratis vexat venatibus Indus, 
ilia tamen pasci suetos per Cypron olores 
vittata stringit myrto, quis cetera tensis 
lactea puniceo sinuantur colla corallo. 110 

98. hunc (sc. currum) Mohr : hanc codd. Fortasse legendum 
est hoc (sc. iugum: cf. 22. 24) et in sequenii versu hunc (sc. 
temonem), ut me monuit W. H. Semple. 

^ i.e. Diana. Jupiter assumed this form in order to deceive 
Cynosura. The victims of the other disguises mentioned 
were (in order) Europa, Leda, Antiope, Mnemosyne (Proser- 
pina, according to the usual account, but see 15. 175 sq.), 
Semele, Danae. See 15. 174-178. According to Ovid, 
Met. VI. 113, in the case of Mnemosyne the appearance 
assumed was that of a shepherd. 



become the Delian goddess,^ a bull, a swan, a satyr, a 
serpent, thunder or gold. So let them be straight- 
way united, for they are alike in wealth and beauty 
and lineage ; there is naught that is ill-matched in 
these victims of thy shaft. But why am I thus 
delaying their marriage ? " Thus she spake and 
called for her chariot. Its yoke was of crystal, 
which in early winter, when the ice of the young 
world began to increase the bulk of Caucasus, was 
compacted of a piece of the Tanais by dint of the 
northern frosts, assuming the nature of a gem because 
it lost the nature of water. The car was pierced by 
a pole of the yellow metal, metal which had been 
sent by the river beneath whose waters the nymphs 
fondled Mygdonian Midas, who, poor in the midst of 
gold, enriched Pactolus' stream when his prayers 
had been turned against him. Brightly gleamed the 
wheels, encircling the spokes with translucent rims ; 
they were got from the jaws of the Libyan beast, 
while the monster bewailed the disarming of his 
mouth with the tusks wrenched away. This also 
was a gift, sent by the Indian, a man like the Ethio- 
pian in hue and with the grease of unguent on his 
hair, who troubles warm Erythrae^ as he roams about 
naked in his fragrant hunting.^ Her swans, wont to 
feed in Cyprus, Venus held firmly with reins of be- 
ribboned myrtle ; the rest of their bodies was tense 
and taut, but their milk-white necks were bent by a 
circlet of red coral.* 

2 See 2. 447 n. Here a district rather than a town seems 
to be indicated. 

3 '* Fragrant hunting " refers to the fragrance cast from 
his perfumed hair as he hunts. 

* This seems to mean that the reins are attached to a coral 
necklet, and the neck is bent back when they are pulled. 



Ergo iter aggressi : pendens rota sulcat innnem 
aera et in liquido non solvitur orbita tractu. 
hie triplex uno comitatur Gratia nexu, 
hie redolet patulo Fortunae Copia cornu, 
hie spargit calathis, sed flores Flora perennes, 115 
hie Cererem Siculam Pharius comitatur Osiris, 
hie gravidos Pomona sinus pro tempore portat, 
hie Pallas madidis venit inter prela trapetis, 
hie distincta latus maculosa nebride Thyias 
Indica Echionio Bromii rotat orgia thyrso, 120 

hie et Sigeis specubus qui Dindyma ludit 
iam sectus recalet Corybas ; cui gutture ravo 
ignem per bifores regemunt cava buxa cavernas. 

Sic ventum ad thalamos : tus, nardum, balsama, 
hie sunt, hie Phoenix busti dat cinnama vivi. 125 

proxima quin etiam festorum adflata calore 
iam minus alget hiemps, speciemque tenentia vernam 
hoc dant vota loco quod non dant tempora mundo. 
tum Paphie dextram iuvenis dextramque puellae 
compleetens paucis cecinit sollemnia dictis, 130 

ne facerent vel verba moram : " feliciter aevum 
ducite Concordes ; sint nati sintque nepotes ; 
cernat et in proavo sibimet quod pronepos optet." 



So they begin their journey: the poised wheel 
cleaves the empty air, leaving in the clear expanse 
no rut to be smoothed out. Here the three Graces 
attend her, linked in a single embrace ; here Plenty 
casts fragrance from Fortune's open horn; here 
Flora scatters flowers from baskets, flowers ever 
blooming ; here Egyptian Osiris accompanies Sicilian 
Ceres ; here Pomona carries the folds of her robe loaded 
>\'ith the fruits of the season ; here Pallas comes with 
oil-mills that are oozing between the presses ; here 
the Bacchanal, her side mottled with a dappled fawn- 
skin, plies the whirling Indian revelry of Bromius 
\\'ith the Theban thyrsus ; here the Corybant too, 
who represents the rites of Dindyma in the caves of 
Sigeum, unmanned though he now is, feels the old 
glow return, and from that hoarse throat the hollowed 
box-wood groans out through its double pipe the 
fire that is within him. 

Thus they come to the bridal; incense, nard, 
balm, and myrrh are here; here Phoenix presents 
the cinnamon of his living pyre.^ Nay, even the 
\\inter so near at hand has felt the warm breath of 
the festival and has grown less cold, and the wedding 
preserves a suggestion of spring and gives to that 
spot a boon which the seasons do not give to the 
world. Then the goddess of Paphos, clasping the 
right hands of man and maid, chanted the hallowed 
blessing in but few words, unwilling that even words 
should bring delay : " Pass your lives in happiness 
and concord; may ye have children and grand- 
children; and may your great-grandchildren see 
in their great-grandparents the bliss which they 
themselves would fain enjoy ! " 

1 See 2. 417 n. 




Quid me, etsi valeam, parare carmen 
Fescenninicolae iubes Diones 
inter crinigeras situm catervas 
et Germanica verba sustinentem, 
laudantem tetrico subinde vultu 5 

quod Burgundio cantat esculentus, 
infundens acido comam butyro ? 
vis dicam tibi, quid poema frangat? 
ex hoc barbaricis abacta plectris 
spernit senipedem stilum Thalia, 10 

ex quo septipedes videt patronos. 
fehces oculos tuos et aures 
felicemque libet vocare nasum, 
cui non allia sordidumque cepe 
ructant mane novo decern apparatus, 15 

quem non ut vetulum patris parentem 
nutricisque virum die nee orto 
tot tantique petunt simul Gigantes, 
quot vix Alcinoi culina ferret. 

Sed iam Musa tacet tenetque habenas 20 

paucis hendecasyllabis iocata, 
ne quisquam satiram vel hos vocaret. 

14. sordidumque cepe ego: sordidaeque caepae (sepe F) 
codd. ; sed desideratur accusativus. 

^ Catullinus, who appears to have asked Sidonius to write 
an epithalamium, is mentioned in Epist. I. 11, 3 sq., but is 
not otherwise known. In that letter, which has reference to 
a supposed " satire " of Sidonius, Catullinus plays an amusing 
part, and it is fairly obvious that v. 22 contains a reference 
to the incident, which occurred at Aries in a.d. 461. The 



Why — even supposing I had the skill — do you bid 
me compose a song dedicated to Venus the lover of 
Fescennine mirth, placed as I am among long-haired 
hordes, ha\ing to endure German speech, praising 
oft with ^vry face the song of the gluttonous Bur- 
gundian who spreads rancid butter on his hair? 
Do you want me to tell you what >\Tecks all poetry ? 
Driven away by barbarian thrumming the Muse has 
spurned the six-footed exercise ever since she beheld 
these patrons seven feet high. I am fain to call 
your eyes and ears happy, happy too your nose, for 
you don't have a reek of garlic and foul onions dis- 
charged upon you at early morn from ten break- 
fasts, and you are not invaded even before dawn, 
like an old grandfather or a foster-father, by a crowd 
of giants so many and so big that not even the kitchen 
of Alcinous could support them. 

But already my Muse is silent and draws rein after 
only a few jesting hendecasyllables, lest anyone 
should call even these lines satire. 

poem may have been written at Aries some time after Catul- 
linus had left. The reference to the Burgundians is not quite 
clear. Sidonius seems to imply that he was responsible for 
feeding a certain number of them. Were they members of a 
Burgundian contingent in the forces of Majorian ? Hodgkin 
(II. 362), though adoptmg the above view of i'. 21 and the 
consequent dating of the poem, conjectures that these verses 
were written at Lyons — presumably because Lyons was in 
(though not part of) the Burgundian territory ; but he does not 
explain the reference to the Burgundian meals. For an account 
of various suggested dates and places see Stevens, p. 66, n. L 
For the superscription of this poem see n. on Epist. I. 11. 3. 

VOL. I. K 



Aniphitryoniaden perhibet veneranda vetustas, 

dum relevat terras, promeruisse polos, 
sed licet in nuda torvus confregerit ulna 

ille Cleonaeae guttura rava ferae, 
et quamquam ardenti gladio vix straverit hydram, 5 

cum duplices pareret vulnere mors animas, 
captivumque ferens silva ex Erymanthide monstrum 

exarmata feri riserit ora suis, 
collaque flammigenae disrumpens fumida furis 

tandem directas iusserit ire boves, 10 

taurus, cerva, Gigas, hospes, luctator, Amazon, 

Cres, canis, Hesperides sint monimenta viri, 
nulla tamen fuso prior est Geryone pugna, 

uni tergeminum cui tulit ille caput, 
haec quondam Alcides ; at tu Tirynthius alter, 15 

sed princeps, magni maxima cura dei, 
quem draco, cervus, aper paribus sensere sagittis, 

cum dens, cum virus, cum fuga nil valuit, 
Eurysthea nos esse puta monstrumque tributum ; 

hinc capita, ut vivam, tu mihi tolle tria. 20 

3. sed Mohr : et. 

19. Eurysthea ego : hystriones (histr.). Vid. Class. Quart. 
loc.cU. p. 20. 

20. hinc Luetjohann : hie. 

^ Majorian had punished the rebellious Gallo-Romans in 
Lyons by levying a heavy tax. The method adopted was 
apparently to assess each man on an increased number of 
capita (property-units on which taxation was calculated). 
The " three heads " in this poem seem to mean that the taxes 
were trebled; or they may even have been quadrupled by 
the addition of three capita to every former one. Sidonius here 
pleads for a remission on behalf of himself and (less obviously) 
of others. His appeal was probably successful, otherwise he 




Hallowed antiquity records that the son of Amphi- 
tryon by succouring earth earned heaven as his re- 
ward. But although with grim look he crushed within 
his bare arms the tawny ^ throat of the monster of 
Cleonae ; although with his fiery sword he just 
availed to lay the hydra low, as one death ever 
brought forth two lives from the wound ; although he 
carried the captured monster from the Erymanthian 
forest, laughing at the wild boar's disarmed mouth; 
and although, bursting open the smoking neck of the 
fire-born thief, he compelled the cows at last to go 
frontwise ; although the bull, the deer, the giant, 
the host, the ^vrestler, the Amazon, the Cretan beast, 
the dog, and the Hesperides ^ are memorials of the 
hero's prowess — yet none of his fights takes rank 
before the overthrow of Geryon, from whose one body 
he took three heads. Thus Alcides of old ; but do 
thou, as a second Hercules, and our sovereign to boot, 
and our great God's greatest care — thou, whose 
arrows made snake, stag, and boar alike to feel thy 
prowess,* when tooth, poison, and flight availed them 
not — deem us to be Eurystheus ^ and the tax to be 
the monster, and favour me by taking from it three 
heads, that I may be able to hve. 

would scarcely have included it in his collected poems. It was 
probably written very soon after the Panegyric. 

* This is probably the meaning of rava hero. There is 
another word ravtis, meaning "hoarse," "rough -voiced" 
(= raucus) : see Epist. VIII. 11.3 carm. 49 ; ib. IX. 2. 2. The 
meaning of the word in Horace is disputed ; see commentators 
on C. III. 27. 3, Epod. XVI. 33, and G. Ramain in Revue de 
Phildogie Ser. III. T. IX (1935), pp. 358-360. 

3 Of. 9. 95-98 n. * For this exploit of Majorian see 5. 153 sq. 

* The king who ordered the labours of Hercules. 



Has supplex famulus preces dicavit 
responsum opperiens pium ac salubre. 
ut reddas patriam simulque vitam 
Lugdunum exonerans suis ruinis, 
hoc te Sidonius tuus precatur : 25 

sic te Sidonio recocta fuco 
multos purpura vestiat per annos; 
sic lustro imperii perennis acto 
quinquennalia fascibus dicentur; 
sic ripae duplicis tumore fracto 30 

detonsus Vachalim bibat Sygamber. 
quod si contuleris tuo poetae, 
mandem perpetuis legenda fastis 
quaecumque egregiis geris triumphis. 
nam nunc Musa loquax tacet tribute, 35 

quae pro Vergilio Terentioque 
sextantes legit unciasque fisci, 
Marsyaeque timet manum ac rudentem, 
qui Phoebi ex odio vetustiore 
nunc suspendia vatibus minatur. 40 



1. Dum post profectionem tuam, mi Polemi, frater 
amantissime, me cum granditer reputo quatenus in 
votis tuis philosophi Fescennina cantarem, obrepsit 

^ mandem, a good instance of present subjunctive for future 
indicative. There are several examples of this in Sidonius. 

^ A reference not only to the well-known legend of Apollo 
and Marsyas, but to Marsyas as symbolising the law (from the 
statue of Marsyas in the Roman Forum near the law-courts). 



This petition thy suppliant servant has offered, 
waiting for a kind and Hfe-giving answer. That thou 
mayest give him back his native town and his life 
withal, releasing Lugdunum from its fallen estate — 
this thy Sidonius craves of thee : so may the purple, 
redipped in Sidonian dye, clothe thee for many a 
year ; so, when thou hast completed a lustre of thine 
everlasting reign, may a quinquennial festival be 
consecrated to thy rule ; so may the Sygambrian, 
when the commotion on both banks has been quelled, 
drink the waters of Vachalis with head, shorn in 
humiliation. If thou grant this to thy poet, I will 
commit^ to history's undying records, to be read of 
mankind, all the exploits of thy glorious triumphs. J 
For now my talkative muse is silenced by the tax, and 
culls instead of Virgil's and Terence's lines the pence 
and halfpence owed to the Exchequer, and fears 
the hand and rope of Marsyas,- who from his old-time 
hatred of Phoebus now threatens bards with hanging. 



1. My devoted brother Polemius, 

After your departure I considered carefully 
how far I was entitled to sing a Fescennine strain in 
celebrating the wedding of a philosopher like you. 

' Polemius, a descendant of the historian Tacitus, became 
Praetorian Prefect of Gaul (perhaps a.d. 471-2, less probably 
after 475 : see Stevens, p. 197), and held office for two years. 
See E'pisi. IV. 14, which is addressed to him. 



materia, qua decursa facile dinosci valet magis me 
doctrinae quam causae tuae habuisse rationem. 
omissa itaque epithalamii teneritudine per asper- 
rimas philosophiae et salebrosissimas regulas ^ stilum 
traxi ; quarum talis ordo est ut sine plurimis no\is 
verbis, quae praefata pace reliquorum eloquentum 
specialiter tibi et Complatonicis tuis nota sunt, 
migae ipsae non valuerint expediri. 2. videris, 
utrum aures quorundam per imperitiam temere 
mentionem centri, proportionis, diastematum, cli- 
matum vel myrarum epithalamio conducibilem non 
putent. illud certe consulari viro vere Magno, 
quaestorio viro Domnulo, spectabili viro Leone 
ducibus audacter adfirmo, musicam et astrologiam, 
quae sunt infra arithmeticam consequentia membra 
philosophiae, nullatenus posse sine hisce nominibus 
indicari; quae si quispiam ut Graeca, sicut sunt, et 
peregrina verba contempserit, noverit sibi aut 
semper ^ huiuscemodi artis mentione supersedendum 
aut nihil omnino se aut certe non ad assem Latiari 
lingua hinc posse disserere. 3. quod si aliqui ^ 
secus atque assero rem se habere censuerint, do 
quidem absens obtrectatoribus manus ; sed noverint 
sententiam meam discrepantia sentientes sine Marco 

' regiunculas Stangl, regiones Buecheler. 

2 semper Buecheler : super. 

^ aliqui . . . censuerint ego : aliquis . . . censuerit. 

^ Magnus : 23. 455 n. Domnulus : 5. 570 n. Leo : 
9. 314 n. The spectabiles ranked between the irUustres and 



The subject of the poem then crept into my mind, 
and now that it is completed it is easily seen that I 
have taken more notice of your learning than of the 
happy occasion. Thus I have abandoned the melting 
tones of the nuptial song and trailed my pen over 
the roughest and most stony teachings of philosophy, 
which are so constituted that even a trifling effort 
like this could not have been accomplished without a 
large number of the new words which (with apologies 
to all other stylists) are known in a special degree to 
you and your fellow-Plat onists. 2. You shall judge 
whether certain persons' ears, owing to inexperience, 
imagine too hastily that the mention of " centrum," 
" proportio," " diastemata," " climata," " m)rrae," 
is unsuited to a marriage-poem. This at least I 
confidently affirm, following the lead of Magnus, a 
consular and a man as great as his name, Domnulus, 
of quaestorian rank, and the Eminent Leo,^ that 
music and astronomy, the branches of philosophy 
which come next in importance to arithmetic, cannot 
in the least be made intelligible without these terms ; 
and if anyone look down on them, as being Greek 
and foreign expressions (which they are), let him be 
assured that he must for ever renounce all mention 
of this sort of science or else that he cannot treat the 
subject at all, or at least that he cannot treat it com- 
pletely, in the Latin tongue. 3. Should some people 
maintain that the facts are not as I declare them to 
be, I surrender to those cavillers whom I cannot meet 
face to face; nevertheless. I would have all who 
differ from me know that my opinion cannot be 
condemned without condemning Marcus Varro, 

the clarissimi in the official hierarchy. See Hodgkin I, 603, 
620, Bury I. 19. 



Varrone, sine Sereno, non Septimio, sed Sammonico, 
sine Censorino, qui de die natali volumen illustre 
confecit, non posse damnari. 4. lecturus es hie 
etiam novum verbum, id est essentiam; sed scias 
hoc ipsum dixisse Ciceronem; nam essentiam nee 
non et indoloriam nominavit, addens : " licet enim 
novis rebus nova nomina imponere " ; et recte dixit, 
nam sicut ab eo quod est verbi gratia sap ere et 
intellegere sapientiam et intellegentiam 
nominamus, regulariter et ab eo quod est esse 
essentiam non tacemus. igitur, quoniam tui 
amoris studio inductus homo Gallus scholae 
sophisticae intromisi materiam, vel te potissimum 
facti mei deprecatorem requiro. illi Venus vel 
Amorum commenticia pigmenta tribuantur cui 
defuerit sic posse laudari. vale. 


Prosper conubio dies coruscat, 
quem Clotho niveis benigna pensis, 

^ See 9. 267. The Serenus Sanimonicus here referred to 
is the elder of that name, a very learned man, who was put 
to death by CaraeaUa. His son was a poet, and is usually 
identified with Quintus (or Quintius ? See Vollmer's ed., p. 3) 
Serenus, the author of a still extant medical treatise in verse. 

2 Seneca {Epist. 58. 6) confirms Sidonius about essentia ; 
but the word is not found in any extant work of Cicero. 
According to Quintilian (II. 14. 2, III. 6. 23, VTTT. 3, 33^ 


Serenus (Sammonicus, not Septimius ^), and Censori- 
nus, the author of a fine book " On the natal Day." 
4. Here also you are going to read a novel word, 
essentia ; but you must note that Cicero himself has 
used that word ; for he introduced the two terms 
essentia and indoloria,^ adding: " for it is allowable 
to apply new names to new notions." And he was 
quite right, for just as we form, for example, the 
nouns sapientia and intellegentia from sapere and 
intellegere, so quite legitimately we do not refrain 
from using essentia from esse. Therefore, since my 
interest in your love-affair has led me, a man of 
Gaul, to introduce such matter as belongs to the 
philosophical lecture-room, I claim you in a special 
degree as intercessor on my behalf. Let Venus and 
all the fictitious gallery of love-gods be bestowed on 
one who cannot be eulogised in the manner of this 
poem. Farewell. 




Auspicious for the marriage gleams the day, a 
day for a kindly Clotho to distinguish with snow- 

essentia (a translation of ovaia, " being") was first used by a 
philosopher called Plautus (this seems to be the correct form, 
but the MSS. vary). Cicero uses ivdolentia, but it is scarcely 
credible that he ever used indoloria. Both these words are 
renderings of the Greek word dvoAyT/ata, "insensibility," 
literally "freedom from pain." The form indoloria is used 
by Jerome and Augustine. 
' For Araneola see n. on 9. b. 


albus quern picei lapillus Indi, 

quem pacis simul arbor et iuventae 

aeternumque virens oliva signet. 5 

eia, Calliope, nitente palma 

da sacri laticis loquacitatem, 

quem fodit pede Pegasus volanti 

cognato madidus iubam veneno. 

non hie impietas, nee hanc puellam 10 

donat mortibus ambitus procorum; 

non hie Oenomai cruenta circo 

audit pacta Pelops nee insequentem 

pallens Hippomcnes ad ima metae 

tardat Schoenida ter cadente pome; 15 

non hie Herculeas videt palaestras 

Aetola Calydon stupens ab arce, 

cum cornu fluvii superbientis 

Alcides premeret, subinde fessum 

undoso refovens ab hoste pectus ; 20 

sed doctus iuvenis decensque virgo, 

ortu culmina Galliae tenentes, 

iunguntur : cito, diva, necte chordas 

nee, quod detonuit Camena maior, 

nostram pauperiem silere cogas. 25 

ad taedas Thetidis probante Phoebo 

et Chiron cecinit minore plectro, 

nee risit pia turba rusticantem, 

quamvis saepe senex biformis illic 

carmen rumperet hinniente cantu. 30 

^ For this proverbial expression (said to be derived from the 
Thracian custom of putting a white pebble in an urn to mark 
a lucky day) see commentators on Horace, Odes I. 36. 10, 
Conington on Persius II. 1. In Martial, whom Sidonius here 



white thread, a day to be marked by the white stone 
of the black Indian ^ and by the ohve ever fresh and 
green, tree at once of peace and of youth. Ho, 
Calliope ! With thy radiant hand deliver to me the 
eloquence of the sacred spring which Pegasus dug 
out with his flying foot when his mane was wet with 
his mother's poison. Here there is no unnatural 
enmity ; this girl is not being bestowed through the 
deaths of rival suitors. Here no Pelops listens to the 
bloody terms of Oenomaus ^ in the racing-ground ; 
no Hippomenes ^ pale with dread at the lower turning- 
point of the course retards the maid of Schoenus with 
thrice-falling apple ; not here does Calydon behold 
in amazement from her Aetolian height the wrestling 
of Hercules, when he forced dovm the horn of the arro- 
gant river, refreshing his breast ever and anon from 
his watery foe.* Nay, a learned young scholar and a 
comely maid, holding by right of birth the most 
exalted eminence in Gaul, are being united. Quick, 
goddess, string the lyre, nor compel my poor talent 
to keep silence because a greater Muse ^ hath sent 
forth thundering strains. At the marriage of Thetis, 
with Apollo's approval, even Chiron made music 
with lesser quill, nor did the kindly company laugh at 
his rustic style, although oft the aged double-formed 
creature broke his song with a whinnying note.® 

imitates, the stones become pearls (Indicis lapiUis I. 109. 4; 
cf. X. 38. 5; see also VIII. 45. 2, XL 36. 1). 

* See 2. 491 n. 

3 Cf. 2. 494-^96, 5. 167-176, 11. 87. 

* See 2. 497-499 n. 

* The identity of this " greater Muse " is unknown. 
« Cf. 1. 19 sq. 





Forte procellosi remeans ex arce Capherei, 
Phoebados Iliacae raptum satis ulta pudorem, 
Pallas Erechtheo Xanthum mutabat Hymetto. 
aiirato micat acre caput, maiusque serenum 
de terrore capit; posito nam fulmine necdum 5 

Cinyphio Tritone truces hilaraverat artus. 
Gorgo tenet pectus medium, factura videnti 
et truncata moras ; nitet insidiosa superbum 
effigies vivitque anima pereunte venustas ; 
alta cerastarum spirLs caput asperat atrum 10 

congeries, torquet maculosa volumina mordax 
crinis, et irati dant sibila taetra capilli. 
squameus ad mediam thorax non pervenit alvum 
post chalybem pendente peplo ; tegit extima limbi 
circite palla pedes, qui cum sub veste moventur, 15 
crispato rigidae crepitant in syrmate rugae, 
laevam parma tegit Phlegraei plena tumultus: 
hie rotat excussum vibrans in sidera Pindum 
Enceladus, rabido fit missilis Ossa Typhoeo ; 
Porphyrion Pangaea rapit, Rhodopenque Damastor 
Strymonio cum fonte levat, veniensque superne 21 
intorto calidum restinguit flumine fulmen; 
hie Pallas Pallanta petit, cui Gorgone visa 
19. rabido Mohr et Lueijohann : rapido. 

1 See 5. 196 n. 

* Tritonis (palus) was a lake in N. Africa, now impossible to 
identify with certainty. It was near the Lesser Syrtes, with 
which it seems to have been united by a river, also called 
Tritonis. The lake is often associated with Pallas Athena, 
who is called Tpiroyeveia, Tritonia, and Tritonis (see 7. 198 and 
below, V. 179). One legend made her a daughter of the lake- 
nymph, another said that she was born on the shores of the lake. 




It chanced that Pallas was returning from the peak 
of storm-swept Caphereus ^ ; she had avenged to the 
full the ravished honour of Apollo's Trojan votary, 
and now she was abandoning Xanthus for Athenian 
Hymettus. Her head sparkles with gilded bronze, 
and she begins to show a more serene aspect after 
her frightfulness ; for she has laid aside the thunder- 
bolt, though she has not yet gladdened her fierce 
limbs with the waters of African Tritonis.^ The 
Gorgon covers the middle of her breast, with power 
still to make the beholder motionless, though the 
head be severed. Proudly shines that guileful form, 
and its beauty still lives though life is ebbing. The 
dark head bristles with a towering swarm of twisting 
vipers ; those fanged tresses tangle their spotted 
coils, those angry locks utter horrible hisses. The 
corselet of scale-armour worn by the goddess reaches 
not to the waist ; where the steel ceases her robe 
hangs dovm ; the end of her cloak covers her feet 
>vith its circling hem, and when they move under her 
raiment there is a rustling of the stiff folds in the 
crimped trailing mantle. Her left hand is covered 
by a shield filled with a likeness of the Phlegraean 
fray. In one part Enceladus brandishes Pindus, 
torn from its base, and sends it whirling to the stars, 
while Ossa is the missile of frenzied Typhoeus; 
Porphyrion snatches up Pangaeus, Damastor lifts up 
Rhodope along with Strymon's spring, and when the 
glowing thunderbolt comes down he hurls the river at 
it and quenches it. In another part Pallas assails 
Pallas, but he has seen the Gorgon, and her spear is 



invenit solidum iam lancea tarda cadaver ; 
hie Lemnon pro fratre Mimas contra aegida 
torquet, 25 

impulsimique quatit iaculabilis insula caelum; 
plurimus hie Briareus populoso corpore pugnat, 
cognatam portans aciem, cui vertice ab uno 
eernas ramosis palmas fruticare lacertis. 
nee species solas monstris, dedit arte furorem 30 
Mulciber atque ipsas timuit quas finxerat iras. 
hastam dextra tenet, nuper quam valle Aracynthi 
ipsa sibi posita Pallas protraxit oliva. 
hoc steterat genio, super ut vestigia divae 
labentes teneat Marathonia baca trapetas. 35 

Hie duo templa micant ; quorum supereminet unus 
ut mentis sic sede locus, qui continet alta 
scrutantes ratione viros quid machina caeli, 
quid tellus, quid fossa maris, quid turbidus aer, 
quid noctis lucisque vices, quid menstrua lunae 40 
incrementa parent, totidem cur damna sequantur. 

^ Pallas Athena is elsewhere said to have flayed Pallas the 
giant. See Apollodonis I. 6. 2 with Sir J. G. Frazer's note 
(vol. I. p. 46 n. 1 in this series). 

* The digression on the shield ends here. Failure to notice 
this has led to serious misunderstanding of the next four 
lines, although Sidonius has taken pains to make things 
clear : hastam dextra tenet is contrasted with laetxim parma 
tegit (v. 17). 

^ M. Aracynthus was in Aetolia, but Sidonius seems to 
follow Virgil in placing it on the borders of Attica and Boeotia : 
see Conington (ed. 5) and Page on Virgil, Ec. II. 24. 

* The olive. 

^ The poet imagines a site in or near Athens (the Acropolis ?) 
where there are two adjoining temples consecrated to Pallas 
Athena, goddess of wisdom and of arts and crafts. The first 
temple is a home of philosophy, where Polemius learns all 
the doctrines of the sages ; the second (described in tw. 126 sqq.) 



already too late, and encounters a solid corpse.^ 
Elsewhere is seen Mimas flinging Lemnos against 
the aegis in a brother's defence, while the island- 
missile shakes heaven with its impact. In yet 
another part is the multiple Briareus with his much- 
peopled body joining in the fray, carrying in his 
person a whole host all akin ; you could see his hands 
on branching arms sprouting from a single source. 
To these monsters Vulcan had given by his skill not 
only forms but frenzy, so that he trembled at the 
very MTath which his art had counterfeited.^ The 
right hand of Pallas held a spear, which she herself 
had lately plucked in the vale of Aracynthus ^ from an 
olive she had planted Arrayed in all this glory she 
had now alighted, and where the feet of the goddess 
rested there arose the Marathonian berry * to take 
possession of the gliding mills 

Here two temples ^ gleam forth, both in the same 
region, a region exalted alike in situation and in 
achievements, for it contains the men who by thought 
profound inquire what the fabric of the sky, the earth, 
the sunken sea, the tempestuous air, the alternations 
of day and night, and the monthly waxing of the moon 
bring to pass, and why the waxing is ever followed by 

is devoted to the textile arts, and there Araneola sits, doing 
wonderful embroidery. Her subjects are mostly taken from 
the love-stories of mythology. The goddess indicates that 
she prefers the subjects which are cultivated in the other 
temple; whereupon Araneola mischievously begins to depict 
a philosopher (Diogenes the Cynic) in a ridiculous situation. 
The goddess, unable to restrain a smile, says, " You are not 
going to laugh at philosophers any longer; you are going to 
marry one." For an ingenious but unconvincing attempt 
to identify and locate the two " temples " see A. von Premer- 
stein in Jahresh. d. osterr. arch. Inst. XV (1912), pp. 28-35. 
He seriously misunderstands w. 36 £. 



ilicet hie summi resident septem sapientes, 
innumerabilium primordia philosopher um : 
Thales Mileto genitus vadimonia damnat; 
Lindie tu Cleobule iubes modus optimus ut sit ; 45 
tu meditans totum decoras, Periandre, Corinthon ; 
Atticus inde Solon " ne quid nimis " approbat unuin ; 
Prienaee Bia, plures ais esse malignos ; 
tu Mytilene satus cognoscere, Pittace, tempus, 
noscere sese ipsum, Chilon Spartane, docebas ; 50 
asserit hie Samius post docta silentia lustri 
Pythagoras solidum princeps quod musica mundum 
temperet et certis concent um reddat ab astris, 
signaque zodiacus quae circulus axe supremo 
terna quater retinet proprio non currere motu, 55 
acquis inter se spatiis tamen esse locata 
fixaque signifero pariter quoque cernua ferri, 
praecipuumque etiam septem vaga sidera cantum 
hinc dare, perfectus numerus quod uterque habeatur, 
hoc numero adfirmans, hoc ordine cuncta rotari : 60 
falciferi zonam ire senis per summa polorum, 
Martis contiguum medio love pergere sidus, 
post hos iam quarto se flectere tramite Solem, 
sic placidam Paphien servare diastema quintum, 
Arcadium sextum, Lunam sic orbe supremo 65 

59. utique P fortasse ex utrimque ortum : vid. Class. Qvurt. 
loc. cit.p. 21. 61. zonam Mohr : c(h)ronon. 

65. sextum ego : sexto ; vid. Class. Quart, ib. 



the waning. Here, then, are enthroned the Seven 
Sages, the sources of numberless philosophers.^ 
Thales of Miletus condemns the giving of sureties ; 
Cleobulus of Lindus bids moderation be our ideal; 
Periander glorifies Corinth as he practises every- 
thing; then Solon of Athens approves above all 
the saying, " Nothing to excess " ; Bias of Priene 
says that the evil-hearted are the majority ; Pittacus, 
that son of Mitylene, taught this lesson — to mark 
the opportune time, and Spartan Chilo to know one- 
self. Here the Samian Pythagoras declares, after a 
philosophic silence of five years, that music is the 
prime regulator of the universe and gives it a 
harmony from the unvarying movement of the stars, 
and that the thrice four signs that the Zodiac-belt 
holds in high heaven run not on with their own 
separate motion, but are placed at equal intervals 
one from another and, being fixed in the sign- 
bearing belt, are borne -vvith it in descending move- 
ment ; also that the seven wandering stars give 
forth the finest music because in planets and notes 
alike a perfect number is present. He says that by 
this number the universe is whirled round, and in 
this arrangement : the circle of the old Sickle- 
bearer 2 traverses the highest regions of the firma- 
ment; next, save that Jupiter comes between, the 
star of Mars wends its way; after these the Sun 
winds along the fourth path; in like manner the 
gentle goddess of Paphos ^ retains the fifth zone, the 
Arcadian * the sixth ; and the moon in the last circle 

1 Cf. 2. 156 sqq. 

^ Saturn. 

' Venus. 

* Mercury : see 1. 7 n. 



ter denas tropico prope currere climate myras. 
si quos ergo chelys, si quos lyra, tibia si quos 
ediderint cum voce modos, exemplar ad istud 
ponderibus positis, quantum proportio suadet, 
intervalla sequi septeni sideris edit ; 70 

harmoniam dicens etiam quod quattuor istis 
sic sedeant elementa modis ut pondere magnis 
sit locus inferior media tellure (quod autem 
perfecte medium est, imum patet esse rotundi) ; 
hinc fieri ut terram levior superemicet unda, 75 

altior his quoque sit qui purior eminet aer, 
omnia concludat caelum levitate suprema, 
pendeat et totum simul hoc ab origine centri. 
Thales hie etiam numeris perquirit et astris 
defectum ut Phoebi nee non Lunaeque laborem 80 
nuntiet anterius ; sed rebus inutile ponit 
principium, dum credit aquis subsistere mundum. 
huius discipuli versa est sententia dicens 
principiis propriis semper res quasque creari, 
singula qui quosdam fontes decernit habere 85 

aeternum irriguos ac rerum semine plenos. 

^ Myrae or moerae are segments of the zodiacal circle, which 
extends from tropic to tropic. The sun traverses thirty of these 
in about a month. Had Sidonius been speaking of the sun there 
would have been no difficulty ; but he seems to be confusing 
these solar degrees with the (approximately) 30 days of the 
moon's monthly revolution. 

2 Anaximander ; but Sidonius in this passage gives a rough 
summary of doctrines usually associated with Anaxagoras : 
the primal chaos contained an infinite number of particles, 
or "seeds" of things; these became separated off, hke be- 
coming united with hke {e.g. gold particles with gold particles) : 
everything in the world consists predominantly of particles of 
the same nature as itself (miniatures of itself as it were) — this 
is the doctrine of homoiomereia, as it was called by Aristotle 
and others. The process of change in individual things is 



runs on through nearly thirty degrees within the 
cHme of the tropics.^ Thus all the tones that have 
been given forth by harp and lyre and flute and voice 
follow, he declares, the intervals of the seven planets, 
the pitch of the sounds being assigned after this 
pattern according to the dictates of proportion. He 
also calls by the name of harmony the arrangement 
of the four elements, which are so placed that those 
of great weight have the lowest place in the earth 
at the centre (It is clear that in a round shape what 
is absolutely the middle must be the lowest part) ; 
hence it comes about that water, which is lighter, 
springs up above the land, and higher than both is 
air, which is purer and thus soars over them, while 
sky, with its extreme lightness, encloses all these, 
and at the same time this whole universe takes its 
poise from the centre. In this temple also Thales 
inquires by calculations concerning the heavenly 
bodies how to announce beforehand the eclipse of the 
sun and the travail of the moon ; but he assigns to 
things a vain first principle, believing that the 
universe is evolved from water. His pupil ^ takes 
a contrary view; he says that everything is always 
created from its own peculiar first-beginnings, and 
he holds that individual entities have, as it were, 
springs ever flowing and full of the seeds of things. 

always going on : by addition or separation something quite 
different may be produced, owing to tlie predominance of 
another type of particle. This may be the meaning of w. 
85 sq.; but the language is vague and might be variously 
interpreted. The ancients often attribute Anaxagorean doc- 
trines to Anaximander, and it is not easy to draw a rigid line 
between the tenets of the two philosophers ; but Anaxagoras 
seems really to have been more influenced by Anaximenes than 
by Anaximander. 



hunc etiam sequitur qui gignere cuncta putabat 
hunc aerem pariterque deos sic autumat ortos. 
quartus Anaxagoras Thaletica dogmata servat, 
sed divinum animum sentit, qui fecerit orbem. 90 
iunior huic iunctus residet collega, sed idem 
materiam cunctis creaturis aera credens 
iudicat inde deum, faceret quo cuncta, tulisse. 
post hos Arcesilas divina mente paratam 
conicit banc molem, confectam partibus illis 95 

quas atomos vocat ipse leves. Socratica post hunc 
secta micat, quae de naturae pondere migrans 
ad mores hominum limandos transtulit usum. 
banc sectam perhibent summum excoluisse Platona, 
sed triplici formasse modo, dum primus et unus 100 
physica vel logico, logicum vel iungit ad ethos, 
invenit hie princeps quid prima essentia distet 
a summo sextoque bono : cum denique saxa 
sint tantum penitusque nihil nisi esse probentur; 
proxima succedant, quibus esse et vivere promptum 
est, 105 

addere quis possis nil amplius, arbor et herba; 
tertia sit pecorum, quorum esse et vivere motu 
non caret et sensu ; mortales quart a deinde 
respiciat factura suos, quibus esse, moveri, 
vivere cum sensu datur, et supereminet illud, 110 
88. hunc aerem dej. Brakman. 104. nisi id, esse Leo. 

^ Anaximenes. 

2 It is difficult to guess why Sidonius thought that Anaxa- 
goras upheld the doctrines of Thales. 

^ This seems to refer to Diogenes of Apollonia, but he cer- 
tainly did not regard God as a creator essentially distinct 
from the air out of which all else is created. 

* Arcesilas should be Archelaus. 

^ See n. on 2. 173. There is no reason for attributing this 
triple division of philosophy to Socrates or Plato. It may have 



He is followed by one ^ who thought that our air 
produces all things, and who declares that the gods 
also have a like origin. Fourth in the line is Anaxa- 
goras, who upholds the dogmas of Thales ^ but feels 
the presence of a divine mind, creator of the world. 
Next to him sits a younger colleague,^ but he, 
believing air to be the substance from which all 
creatures come, judges that thence God derived 
the wherewithal to create everything. After 
them Arcesilas ^ guesses that this great world- 
mass is produced by a divine mind but is made 
up of those particles which he himself calls light 
atoms. After him shines forth the Socratic school, 
which passed from nature's massive fabric and 
transferred its practice to enhancing the moral life 
of mankind. This school they say the peerless 
Plato adorned, but he moulded it after a triple 
pattern,^ being an unmatched pioneer in his joining 
of physics to logic and logic to ethics. He is the first 
to discover how great is the distance between the 
first essence and the sixth and highest good.^ For 
stones, he says, do but exist, and are clearly proved 
to do naught but exist ; next come those things which 
manifestly both exist and live, but to which you 
could ascribe no further attribute, trees and plants ; 
the third kind of being is found in the beasts, in 
whom existing and living are accompanied by 
motion and sensation; next the fourth creation 
favours his own fellow-mortals, to whom are given 
the gifts of existence, movement, life, and sensation, 
whereto is added the crowning gift of discernment 

been first formulated by Xenocrates, but was first emphasised 
by the Stoics. See Reid on Cic. Ac. I. 19. 

• Needless to say, Plato never propounded this doctrine. 



quod sapiunt veroque valent discernere falsum; 
quinta creaturas superas substantia prodat, 
quas quidam dixere deos, quia corpora sumant 
contemplanda homini, paulo post ipsa relinquant 
inque suam redeant, si qua est tenuissima, formam — 
sic fieri ut pateat substantia summa creator, 116 

sexta tamen supraque nihil, sed cuncta sub ipso, 
hoc in gymnasio Polemi sapientia vitam 
excoht adiunctumque suo fovet ipsa Platoni ; 
obviet et quamquam totis Academia sectis 120 

atque neget verum, veris hunc laudibus ornat. 
Stoica post istos, sed concordantibus ipsis, 
Chrysippus Zenonque docent praecepta tenere. 
exclusi prope iam Cynici, sed limine restant; 
ast Epicureos eliminat undique Virtus. 125 

At parte ex alia textrino prima Minervae 
palla lovis rutilat, cuius bis coctus aeno 
serica Sidonius fucabat stamina murex. 
ebria nee solum spirat conchylia sandix; 
insertum nam fulgur habet, filoque rigenti 130 

ardebat gravidum de fragmine fulminis ostrum. 
hie viridis patulo Glaucus pendebat amictu ; 
undabant hie arte sinus, fictoque tumore 
mersabat pandas tempestas texta carinas. 
Amphitryoniadi surgebat tertia vestis : 135 

parvulus hie gemino cinctus serpente novercae 

119. adiunctumque PF : adiunctamque. Vid. Class. Quart, 
loc. cit. p. 21. 

132. patulo ego: patruo CP, glauco patruo F, patrio T: 
proprio Leo, prasino Purgold. 

^ A good example of the weakened force of tamen, common 
in late Latin. See Schmalz-Hofmann, Synt. p. 672, and the 
authorities there cited, especially Lofstedt, Komm. 27-33. 

^ i.e. probably Polemius, possibly Plato. 



and power to distinguish false from true; the fifth 
class reveals the created beings that dwell on high, 
whom some have called gods, because they assume 
bodies that man can view but soon abandon them and 
return to their own form, a form of the most ethereal 
fineness : thus he says it comes to pass that the 
liighest being is shown to be the creator ; he is, then,^ 
the sixth, and there is naught above him, but all else 
is beneath him. In this school Philosophy ennobles 
the life of Polemius and herself fosters him close to 
her own son Plato; and although the Academy 
opposes all sects by denying that truth exists, that 
sect extols him^ with praises that are true. After 
them, but now in harmony one with the other, 
Chrysippus and Zeno teach adherence to the Stoic 
doctrines. The Cynics are by this time almost shut 
out, but they linger on the threshold; as for the 
Epicureans, Virtue ejects them from every part. 

On the other side is Minerva's weaving-hall. 
Here the robe of Jupiter first shows its ruddy gleam ; 
Sidonian purple twice boiled in the cauldron coloured 
the silken threads, and the deep-dyed red showed 
not only the sheen of purple, for the gleam of light- 
ning was intermingled, and a blaze came from the 
stiff threads where the purple was weighted ^vith a 
broken levin-shaft.^ Here also hung a likeness of 
jrreen Glaucus in a spreading mantle ; here art had 
fashioned his billowing robe, and an inwoven storm 
with mimic swelling was submerging curved sliips. 
The third garment that rose before the eyes was 
dedicated to Amphitryon's son. Here the infant, 
encircled by the two serpents sent by his stepdame,* 

' i.e. a representation of lightning wrought in gold thread. 
* See 7. 582 n. 



inscius arridet monstris ludumque putando 
insidias, dum nescit, amat vultuque dolentis 
exstingui deflet quos ipse interficit angues. 
praeterea sparsis sunt haec subiecta figuris : 140 

sus, leo, cerva, Gigans, taurus, iuga, Cerberus, hydra, 
hospes,Nessus,Eryx, volucres, Thrax, Cacus, Amazon, 
Cres, fluvius. Libs, poma, Lycus, virgo, polus, Oete. 
hoc opus, et si quid superest quod numina vestit, 
virgineae posuere manus. sed in agmine toto 145 
inter Cecropias Ephyreiadasque puellas 
Araneola micat ; proprias conferre laborat 
ipsa Minerva manus, calathisque evicta recedens 
cum tenet haec telas vult haec plus tela tenere. 
hie igitur proavi trabeas imitata rigentes 150 

palmatam parat ipsa patri, qua consul et idem 
Agricolam contingat avum doceatque nepotes 
non abavi solum sed avi quoque iungere fasces, 
texuerat tamen et chlamydes, quibus ille magister 
per Tartesiacas conspectus splenduit urbes 155 

et quibus ingestae sub tempore praefecturae 
conspicuus sanctas reddit se praesule leges. 
attamen in trabea segmento luserat alto 

144. numina Wilamowitz : nomina. 

1 Cf. 9. 95-98. 

* The meaning of trabea in later Imperial writers is a vexed 
question, but these words strongly confirm the view that it 
was strictly a synonym of tunica palmata (see 2. 6 n.) : cf. 
Auson. 322. 92, iit trabeam pictamque togam, mea praemia, 
consul induerer. The word is also used in a less precise way 
to denote the consular vestments in general. In 7. 384 it is 
still more loosely used of the dictator's garb (which was, 
it is true, the same as the consul's; but in republican times 
the consul wore the toga praetexta, as did all other cunile 
magistrates, and had no distinctive tunica). In 23. 174 
the plural is used for " robes of state." 



smiles in all innocence upon the monsters and, 
taking the guileful menace as a game, loves them in 
his ignorance, and \vith a countenance of grief 
bewails the dying of the snakes he himself slays. 
Moreover, there are added in scattered figures 
these likenesses — the boar, the lion, the deer, the 
giant, the bull, the yoke, Cerberus, the hydra, the 
host, Nessus, Eryx, the birds, the Thracian, Cacus, 
the Amazon, the Cretan beast, the river, the Libyan, 
the apples, the Lycian, the maid, the sky, and Oeta.^ 
This work and all other vestures fit for gods have 
been set up in that place by maidens' hands. But 
amid the whole multitude, among all the damsels 
of Athens and of Corinth, Araneola shines out. 
Minerva herself strives to match her own hands with 
hers, but retires beaten from the work-baskets, 
and when Araneola holds the web she herself prefers 
to hold weapons. So here this maid copies the stifF- 
broidered consular vestment of her great-grandfather, 
making with her own hands a palm-decked robe ^ for 
her father, wherewith he, a consul likewise, shall 
match his grandfather Agricola ^ and teach his grand- 
children to link up in their chain of consulships their 
grandsire as well as their grandsire's grandsire. 
She had also woven the mantles in which he as Master 
shone before all eyes in the cities of Spain and in 
which conspicuous, when the prefecture was thrust 
upon him, he dispensed the hallowed laws from the 
president's seat. But on a high strip of broidery 
upon the consular robe she had playfully fashioned 

' Agricola was Praetorian Prefect of Gaul twice (his second 
term of office was in 418) and consul in 421. He may have 
])een an ancestor, possibly even the father, of the Emperor 
Avitua, who had a son named Agricola. See also n. on 23. 455. 



quod priscis inlustre toris. Ithacesia primum 
fabula Dulichiique lares formantur et ipsam 160 

Penelopam tardas texit distexere telas. 
Taenaron hie frustra bis rapt a coniuge puis at 
Thrax fidibus, legem postquam temeravit Averni, 
et prodesse putans iterum non respicit umbram. 
hie vovet Alceste praelato coniuge vitam 165 

rumpere, quam cernas Parearum vellere in ipso 
nondum pernetam fato restante salute, 
hie nox natarum Danai lucebat in auro, 
quinquaginta enses genitor quibus impius aptat 
et dat eoncordem discordia iussa furorem ; 170 

solus Hypermestrae servatus munere Lynceus 
eifugit; aspicias illam sibi parva paventem 
et pro dimisso tantum pallere marito. 
iamque lovem in formas mutat quibus ille tenere 
Mnemosynam, Europani, Semelen, Ledam, Cyno- 
suram 175 

serpens, bos, fulmen, cygnus, Dictynna solebat. 
iamque opus in turrem Danaae pluviamque metalli 
ibat et hie alio stillabat luppiter auro, 
cum virgo aspiciens vidit Tritonida verso 
lumine doctisonas spectare libentius artes; 180 

commutat commota manus ac pollice docto 
pingere philosophi victricem Laida coepit, 
quae Cynici per menta feri rugosaque colla 

167. salute BuecJider : salutem codd. praestante salutem 
vulgo, fortasse rede. 

182. Laida : livida codd. 

^ Orpheus. 

' See 11. 89 sq. n. 

2 i.e. the gold threads of the embroidery. 

* See note on v. 6, above. 



all the famous tales of old-time marriages. First 
the story of Ithaca and the Dulichian home were 
figured, and she wove in Penelope herself unweaving 
the slow-gro^ving web. There also is the Thracian,^ 
whose wife has twice been snatched from him ; 
vainly he beats upon the portal of Taenarus with the 
throbs of his lyre, after breaking the ordinance of 
Avernus, and he looks not back a second time upon 
the shade, deeming that this is in his favour. 
Then there is Alcestis, who puts her husband before 
herself and vows to cut short her life, which you 
could see there in the very wool of the Fateful 
Sisters, not yet spun to the end, for by her destiny 
life still remains to her. There also shines forth in 
gold the night of the Danaids ; their impious father 
girds upon them fifty swords, and the discord forced 
upon them stirs a concordant frenzy. Lynceus 
alone escapes, saved by the grace of Hypermestra ; 
you could see her there, fearing little for herself 
and pale only ^^^th anxiety for the husband she has 
sulFered to depart. The broiderer likewise changes 
Jove into the shapes in which he was wont to embrace 
Mnemosyne, Europa, Semele, Leda, Cynosura, 
becoming serpent, bull, lightning, swan, and Dic- 
tynna.2 Then the work passed into Danae's tower 
and the rain of metal ; and here Jupiter was dripping 
with another kind of gold ^ when the maid, looking 
at Tritonis,* saw that the eyes of the goddess were 
averted and that she was gazing with more pleasure 
at the arts that give forth learned utterance. Then 
the maiden's hand was moved to motive new, and 
with cunning thumb she began to portray Lais, 
the philosopher's vanquisher, who all over the chin 
and wrinkled neck of the boorish Cynic severed 


rupit odoratam redolenti forcipe barbam. 
subrisit Pallas castoque haec addidit ore: 185 

" non nostra ulterius ridebis dogmata, virgo 
philosopho nuptura meo ; mage flammea sumens 
hoc mater sine texat opus, consurge, sophorum 
egregium Polemi decus, ac nunc Stoica tandem 
pone supercilia et Cynicos imitatus amantes 190 
incipies iterum parvum mihi ferre Platona." 
haerentem tali compellat voce magister : 
" perge libens, neu tu damnes fortasse iugari, 
quod noster iubet ille senex qui non piger hausit 
numina contemplans Any to pallente venenum." 195 

Dixerat; ille simul surgit vultuque modesto 
tetrica nodosae commendat pallia clavae. 
amborum tum diva comas viridantis olivae 
pace ligat, nectit dextras ac foedera mandat, 
Nymphidius quae cernat avus. probat Atropos omen 
fulvaque Concordes iunxerunt fila sorores. 201 



Phoebum et ter ternas decima cum Pallade Musas 
Orpheaque et laticem simulatum fontis equini 

190. cygnos Wilamountz. 

195. contemplans Wilamoioitz : condempnans, condemp- 
nens, contempnens codd. 

^ The Cynics' neglect of personal comfort gained them a 
bad reputation. This Cynic's beard is not over- clean; the 
dainty Lais, on the other hand, perfumes even her scissors. 
Possibly, however, odoratam means " perfumed." 

2 " The Master " seems to be Plato. 

' The pallium and the clava (a thick staff) mark the phil- 
osopher : cf. Epist. IV. 11. 1, IX. 9. 14. 

* It is uncertain whether he was the bride's or the bride- 
groom's grandfather. He may be the Nymphidius to whom 
Epist. V. 2 is addressed. 



the odorous beard with fragrant scissors.^ Pallas 
smiled, and opened her virgin lips to add these 
words: " No more shall you laugh at our dogmas — 
you maid that are bride-to-be of my philosopher; 
rather now put on the bridal veil and let a matron 
do this piece of broidery. Rise, Polemius, bright 
jewel among our sages; now at last put away the 
Stoic frown, and imitating the Cynic lovers you shall 
begin to bring me a second little Plato." As he 
hesitated, the Master ^ addressed him thus : " Pro- 
ceed \^^th Avilling heart, and do not haply condemn 
marriage, which the old teacher enjoins who promptly 
drained the poison with his eyes fixed on the gods, 
while Anytus' cheek grew pale." 

When these words are spoken he arises and with 
modest mien commends the austere cloak to the 
keeping of the knotted cudgel.^ Then the goddess 
binds the hair of each ^vith green olive, the emblem of 
peace, joins their hands, and ordains the contract 
which the grandfather Nymphidius* is to ratify. 
Atropos approves the omen and the sister Fates 
with one accord unite the golden Hfe-threads of the 



Thrust far from thee, O lyre of mine, Phoebus 
and the nine Muses together with Pallas as tenth, 
Orpheus and the fabled water of the horse's spring, 

• Faustus was a native of Britain {Epist. IX. 9. 6). He 
entered the monastery of Lerins (104 n.) at an early age, 
becoming its abbot in a.d. 433 in succession to Maximus 



Ogygiamque chelyn, quae saxa sequacia flectens 
cantibus auritos erexit carmine muros, 
sperne, fidis ; magis ille veni nunc spiritus, oro, 5 
pontificem dicture tuum, qui pectora priscae 
intrasti Mariae, rapiens cum tympana siccus 
Israel appensi per concava gurgitis iret 
aggeribus vallatus aquae mediasque per undas 
pulverulenta tuum clamaret turba triumphum ; 10 
quique manum ludith ferientem colla Olophernis 
iuvisti, excise iacuit cum gutture truncus 
et fragilis valido latuit bene sexus in ictu ; 
expresso vel qui complens de vellere pelvem 
inficiensque dehinc non tacto vellere terram 15 

firmasti Gedeona, tubis inserte canoris 
spiritus, et solo venit victoria cantu ; 
quique etiam adsumptum pecorosi de grege lesse 
adflasti regem, plaustro cum foederis arcam 
imponens hostis nullo moderante bubulco 20 

proderet obscaenum turgenti podice morbum ; 
quique trium quondam puerorum in fauce sonasti, 
quos in Chaldaei positos fornace tyranni 

14. pelvem Luetjohann : pellem. 

(v. 112). He was consecrated Bishop of Riez (Reii) probably 
about A.D. 460 and became a leading ecclesiastical figure. 
His opposition to the Arian creed caused his banishment after 
Euric had extended his territory in 476 or 477 and gained 
control of Riez. He was later allowed to return. His writings 
include two books De Gratia, two De Spiritu Sancto, and some 
letters. Some works have been falsely attributed to him. 
After his death his writings were condemned as heretical. 


and the Theban lute that with its music moved the 
stones to follow it and raised by its strains the eagerly- 
listening walls. Rather do thou come, O great Spirit, 
I pray, to speak of thy pontiff — thou who didst enter 
into the heart of Miriam ^ in olden times, when Israel 
seizing their timbrels marched dry-shod through 
the trough of the suspended sea, walled in by ram- 
parts of water, and thy people, dust-covered as they 
passed through the midst of the waves, acclaimed thy 
triumph : 

11 Who didst aid the hand of Judith as it smote 
the neck of Holophernes, when the trunk was laid 
prostrate with the throat cut through and the strong 
blow gloriously disguised the weak sex ^ : 

14 Who, filling the basin from the wrung fleece and 
then bedewing the earth ^v'ithout touching the 
fleece, didst hearten Gideon ^ ; thou Spirit that wert 
infused into the sounding trumpets, so that victory 
came from their blast alone * : 

18 Who didst also inspire the king that was called 
from amid the sheep of Jesse, ^ the possessor of rich 
flocks, when the enemy set the Ark of the Covenant 
on a wain with no drover to guide it and betrayed 
the loathsome disease by the swelling of the secret 
parts ^ : 

22 Who didst once sound in the mouths of the three 
youths who when put in the Chaldean tyrant's 

^ Miriam, Exod. 15. 20; crossing of the Red Sea, c. 14. 

2 Judith 13. 8-10. 3 Judges 6. 36-40. 

« Judges 7. 19 sqq. ^ 1 Sam. 16. 11-13; 18. 2. 

• Ark and emerods, 1 Sam. cc. 5 and 6. But this story 
has nothing to do with King David ; Sidonius has confused 
the story of the Philistines and the ark with that of 2 Sam. 
6. 2 sqq. 



roscida combusto madefecit flamma camino ; 
quique volubilibus spatiantem tractibus alvi 25 

complesti lonam, resonant dum viscera monstri 
introrsum psallente cibo vel pondera ventris 
ieiuni plenique tamen vate intemerato 
ructat cruda fames, quern singultantibus extis 
esuriens vomuit suspense belua morsu ; 30 

quique duplex quondam venisti in pectus Helisei, 
Thesbiten cum forte senem iam flammeus axis 
tolleret et scissam linquens pro munere pellem 
hispidus ardentes auriga intraret habenas ; 
quique etiam Heliam terris missure secundum 35 
Zachariae iusti linguam placate ligasti, 
dum faceret serum rugosa puerpera patrem, 
edita significans iusso reticere propheta, 
gratia cum fulsit, nosset se ut lex tacituram ; 
quique etiam nascens ex virgine semine nuUo, 40 
ante ullum tempus deus atque in tempore Christus, 
ad corpus quantum spectat, tu te ipse creasti ; 
qui visum caecis, gressum quoque reddere claudis, 
auditum surdis, mutis laxare loquelam 

33. pallam cod. Hdmstad. 

* Daniel 3. 13 sqq. ; the " dew-like flame " ib. 50 (Vulgate) : 
et [Angelus Domini] fecit medium fornacis qiuisi ventum 
roris flantem, et non tetigit eos omnino ignis neque contristavity 
nee quidquam molestiae intulit. This occurs in a passage 
of 67 verses (numbered 24-90) which does not appear in the 
Hebrew text, but which is found in Theodotion's version 
(from which the Vulgate took it) and in the Septuagint : 
it doubtless occurred also in all the old Latin versions. Cur- 
iously enough, as Professor A. Souter informs me, no Latin 
Father quotes the above verse. Even Jerome in his comment- 
ary on Daniel fails to do so, though he makes some comments 
on the interpolated passage after pointing out that it does not 
occur in the Hebrew. 



furnace were but wetted with a dew-like flame when 
the oven itself was consumed ^ : 

25 Who didst fill Jonah,^ as he traversed the rolling 
tracts of the whale's belly, while the inward parts of 
the monster resounded with the psalms sung by 
the swallowed food, and a hunger that was clogged 
within belched forth the load of a full but fasting 
stomach without hurting the prophet, whom the beast, 
ravenous yet holding oif his bite, disgorged from 
his retching entrails : 

31 Who aforetime didst pass in a double portion into 
the breast of Elisha, when the time came for the 
fiery chariot to bear aloft the Tishbite in his old age, 
and the rough-clad charioteer, leaving as a gift his 
torn coat of skin, entered the flaming car ^ : 

35 Who also, when minded to send to earth the second 
Elias,* didst in thy mercy bind the tongue of 
righteous Zacharias,^ till such time as a mother in 
wrinkled eld should make him a father in his old 
age ; and who in bidding the prophet to be silent 
about thy message didst give token that with the 
dawn of Grace the Law must know that silence was 
coming upon it : 

40 Who also, born of a pure virgin, before all time 
God and in time Christ, didst create thyself, 
as touching the body ; who wert wont to give to 
the blind sight, to the lame the power to walk, to 
the deaf hearing, and to loosen the tongue of the 

* Jonah, c. 2. 

' 2 (4) Kings 2. 9 sqq. Sidonius is again confused : Elisha 
rent his own clothes and " took up the mantle of Elijah that 
fell from him." 

« Malachi 4. 5, Malth. 11. 14, 17. 12, Mark 9. 13 (12 Vulg.;, 
Lulce 1. 17. 

' Luke. 1. 5 sqq. 


VOL. I. L 


suetus ad hoc etiam venisti, ut mortua membra 45 
lecto, sandapila, tumulo consurgere possint ; 
quique etiam poenas suscepta in carne tulisti, 
sustentans alapas, ludibria, verbera, vepres, 
sortem, vincla, crucem, clavos, fel, missile, acetum, 
postremo mortem, sed suvrecturus, adisti, 50 

eripiens quidquid veteris migraverat hostis 
in ius per nostrum facinus, cum femina prima 
praeceptum solvens culpa nos perpete vinxit; 
(qui cum te interitu petiit nee repperit in te 
quod posset proprium convincere, perdidit omne 55 
quod lapsu dedit Eva suo ; chirographon ilium, 
quo pervasus homo est, haec compensatio rupit. 
expers peccati pro peccatoribus amplum 
fis pretium veteremque novus vice faenoris Adam, 
dum moreris, de morte rapis. sic mortua mors est, 
sic sese insidiis quas fecerat ipsa fefellit ; 61 

nam dum indiscrete petit insontemque reosque, 
egit ut absolvi possent et crimine nexi) ; 

^ Coloss. 2. 14. The Greek is i^aXeltpas to Kad^ rjixiov 
X(tp6ypa(f>ot> Tois SoyixacLv and the Latin (Vulgate) is delens 
quod adversus nos erat chirographum decreti. These very 
difficult words have been much discussed both by the 
ancient Fathers and by modern theologians. Sidonius was 
no theologian, but there is perhaps something to be said for 
his interpretation : man had by his faU been, as it were, 
compelled to sign a bond whereby he was made over to the 
devil in default of paying a seemingly impossible ransom; 
Christ has made himself the ransom. 

* Pervasus is very difficult. In legal Latin and in many 
late authors pervadere, pervasio, and pervasor are used with 
reference to an act of wanton appropriation. The act may 
be a flagrant theft (property stolen from a church is called 
pervasa in PauUn. Petricord. Vit. Mart. VI. 247) or the un- 
lawful occupation of a dwelling. In the latter meaning we 
find pervadere and pervasor used metaphorically by Christian 



mute, and didst come that dead bodies might be 
able to rise from bed. bier, and tomb; who didst 
in thine adopted flesh suffer torments, enduring 
buffets, scoffs, stripes, thorns, casting of lots, chains, 
the cross, the nails, the gall, the spear, the vinegar, 
and finally didst meet death, though only to rise 
again, delivering whatsoever had passed into the 
dominion of the old Enemy through our trans- 
gression, when the first woman broke the com- 
mandment and so fettered us with abiding guilt 
(But the Enemy, when he sought thy destruction 
nor found in thee aught that he could prove to 
be his own, lost all that Eve gave him by her fall; 
and this recompense of thine dissolved the bond ^ by 
which man became a robber's possession. ^ Free from 
sin thou didst become an ample ransom for sinners, 
and thou, the new Adam, didst by dying pay the 
price and snatch the old Adam from death. Thus 
Death is dead, caught in the very trap himself had 
made ; for attacking without distinction innocent 
and guilty, he brought it to pass that even those 
enslaved by sin received the power to be absolved) : 

wTiters with reference to demoniac possession. In this sense 
the devil is called pervasor by Paulinus, op. cit. VI. 44; the 
same metaphor (probably suggested by Matth. 12. 29, Luke 11. 
24) is developed more fully by Sedulius in relating the story 
of the boy possessed by an imclean spirit {Matth. 17. 14—18, 
Mark 9. 17-27, Luke 9. 38-^2, A.V. numbering) : Christ 
compels the spirit pervdsa migrare domo {Pasch. Carm. III. 
309; so in the prose version, Pasch. Op. III. 25, pervasae 
domus habitacvlo migraturus). Sidonius may have had this 
image in his mind : in virtue of the " bond " the Evil One 
has seized possession of man and made of him a dwelling- 
place. On the other hand the meaning of pervasu^ here may 
be simply "seized," ''snatched away," "stolen." The 
translation given attempts to cover both meanings. 



quique etiam iustos ad tempus surgere tecum 
iussisti cineres, cum tectis tempore longo 65 

inrupit festina salus infusaque raptim 
excussit tumulis solidatas vita fa villas : 
da Faustum laudare tuum, da solvere grates, 
quas et post debere iuvat. te, magne sacerdos, 
barbitus hie noster plectro licet impare cantat. 70 
Haec igitur prima est vel causa vel actio laudum, 
quod mihi germani, dum lubrica volvltur aetas, 
servatus tecum domini per dona probatur 
nee fama titubante pudor; te respicit istud 
quantumcumque bonum ; merces debebitur illi, 75 
ille tibi. sit laus, si labi noluit, eius ; 
nam quod nee potuit, totum ad te iure redundat. 
praeterea quod me pridem Reios veniente, 
cum Procyon fureret, cum solis torridus ignis 
flexilibus rimis sitientes scriberet agros, 80 

hospite te nostros excepit protinus aestus 
pax, domus, umbra, latex, benedictio, mensa, cubile. 
omnibus attamen his sat praestat quod voluisti 
ut sanctae matris sanctum quoque limen adirem. 
derigui, fateor, mihi conscius atque repente 85 

tinxit adorantem pavido reverentia vultum ; 
nee secus intremui quam si me forte Rebeccae 
Israel aut Samuel crinitus duceret Annae. 

78. venientem codd, 

85. derigui Luetjohann : dirigui. 

1 Matth. 27. 52 sq. 

* We do not know the name of any brother of Sidonius. 

' i.e. although a reward in heaven will be his due, you wiU 
have made him what he is. 

* The mother is probably (as Krusch conjectured) Mother 
Church, not the mother of Faustus, and 8. m. limen is the 
threshold of the cathedral church. 



64 Who didst likewise bid the ashes of the just 
to rise with thee at the appointed time,^ when 
salvation of a sudden burst upon them who had 
long been covered up, and a flood of life poured 
into them and swept their re-knit ashes from the 
tomb — 

68 Do thou grant that I may praise thy servant Faustus, 
that I may pay my debt of gratitude, which even 
after this payment I am glad to owe. Thee, great 
priest, this lyre of mine doth hymn, albeit with a 
quill unequal to the task. 

The first cause and burden of my praises is that 
when my brother ^ was at an age that is prone to slip 
his virtue was preserved with thy help through the 
grace of our Lord, and stands approved — yea, 
and with no wavering in his good report. This 
blessing in all its immensity is to be ascribed to thee ; 
the reward will be due to him, but he will be due 
to thee.^ If he has of his own free will refused to 
stumble, let the praise be his ; but that he could not 
have stumbled even if he would redounds by right 
entirely to thy credit. I praise thee too because 
when I came aforetime to Reii, while Procyon was 
raging and the sun's parching fire was marking the 
thirsty fields with winding cracks, thy hospitality 
straightway greeted my hot discomfort with peace, 
home, shade, water, benediction, bed, and board. 
But a far greater boon than all these was that thou 
wert willing for me to approach also the hallowed 
threshold of the hallowed mother.* I stood stock- 
still, I confess, as I felt my unworthiness, and all at 
once fearful awe coloured my face as it thrilled with 
adoration ; yea, I trembled as if Israel were bringing 
me to Rebecca or long-haired Samuel to Hannah. 



quapropter te vel votis sine fine colentes 

adfectum magnum per carmina parva fatemur, 90 

Seu te flammatae Syrtes et inhospita tesqua 
seu caeno viridante palus seu nigra recessu 
incultum mage saxa tenent, ubi sole remoto 
concava longaevas adservant antra tenebras ; 
seu te praeruptis porrecta in rupibus Alpis 95 

succinctos gelido libantem caespite somnos, 
anachoreta, tremit (quae quamquam frigora portet, 
conceptum Christi numquam domat ilia calorem), 
qua nunc Helias, nunc te iubet ire lohannes, 
nunc duo Macarii, nunc et Paphnutius heros, 100 
nunc Or, nunc Ammon, nunc Sarmata, nunc Hilarion, 
nunc vocat in tunica nudus te Antonius ilia 
quam fecit palmae foliis manus alma magistri ; 
seu te Lirinus priscum complexa parentem est, 
qua tu iam fractus pro magna saepe quiete 105 

discipulis servire venis vixque otia somni, 
vix coctos capture cibos abstemius aevum 
ducis et insertis pinguis ieiunia psalmis, 
fratribus insinuans quantos ilia insula plana 

108. pingis CTF : pinguas Caduceus, fortasse recte. 

^ Probably the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist, though 
there were Egyptian anchorites who bore these names. 
The Macarii, HUarion, and Antonius are mentioned in Epist. 
VII. 9. 9. Sarmata is unknown ; it may be either the man's 
name or a description of him, " the Sarmatian." For the 
others see Diet. Chr. Biog. and Dom E. C. Butler in C. M. H., 
I. 521 sqq. The " master " of St. Anthony was Paulus 

2 Lirinus {Lerina in Pliny), modem St.-Honorat, one of the 
Lerins-group of islands opposite Antibes. 

' Monies is used by ecclesiastical writers to denote bishops 
and priests. There is here, of course, a frigid contrast between 
montes and plana insula. Caprasius was associated with 
Honoratus in the foundation of the monastery. Lupus = St. 


Wherefore I honour thee \vithout ceasing even in 
my prayers, and now I acknowledge in paltry verse 
my great affection. 

Whether thou dost tarry roughly garbed in a 
cheerless wilderness by the sun-fired Syrtes or 
choosest rather a marsh full of green slime or the dark 
recesses of rocks where deep sunless caves maintain 
an age-long gloom ; or whether the Alps, stretching 
afar >v'ith their long line of precipitous crags, tremble 
before thee, great anchorite, as thou snatchest brief 
slumber on the cliill ground (and ^^^th all their cold 
they never overcome the warm glow that Christ 
hath set in thy heart) ; for this is the way that thou 
art urged to go, now by Elias, now by John,^ now by 
the two Macarii, now by the great Paphnutius, now 
by Or, now by Ammon, now by Sarmata, now by 
Hilarion; and another time the call comes from 
Antonius, clad only in that tunic wliich the kindly 
hand of his master made of palm-leaves : 
104 Or whether Lirinus ^ hath welcomed thee, its 
erstwhile father, whither thou, instead of resting 
long when thy strength is exhausted, dost often 
come to serve thy disciples, and thou wilt scarce 
repose thyself in sleep or take cooked food, but livest 
a life of self-denial and makest thy fasts rich with 
intervals of psalmody, meanwhile instilling lessons 
into the brethren, telling how many great eminences ^ 

Lupus of Troyes. Honoratus became Bp. of Aries, and Maxi- 
mus (see Epist. VIII. 14. 2) succeeded him at Leriiis and subse- 
quently became Bp. of Riez; in each of these offices his 
successor was Faustus, St. Eucherius was a monk at Lerins 
and afterwards Bp. of Lyons. His theological writings were 
potent for many centuries. Hilarius was a monk of Lerins, 
who followed Honoratus to Aries but subsequently returned 
to his old monastery. He afterwards became Bp. of Aries. 



miserit in caelum montes, quae sancta Caprasi 110 
vita senis iuvenisque Lupi, quae gratia patrem 
mansit Honoratum, fuerit quis Maximus ille, 
urbem tu cuius monachosque antistes et abbas 
bis successor agis, celebrans quoque laudibus illis 
Eucherii venientis iter, redeuntis Hilari; 115 

seu te commissus populus tenet et minor audet 
te medio tumidos maiorum temnere mores ; 
seu tu sollicitus curas qua languidus esca 
quave peregrinus vivat, quid pascat et ilium, 
lubrica crura cui tenuat sub compede career ; 1 20 
seu mage funeribus mentem distr actus humaiidis, 
livida defuncti si pauperis ossa virescant, 
infastiditum fers ipse ad busta cadaver ; 
seu te conspicuis gradibus venerabilis arae 
contionaturum plebs sedula circumsistit, 125 

expositae legis bibat auribus ut medicinam: 
quidquid agis, quocumque loci es, semper mi hi 

Faust us, 
semper Honoratus, semper quoque Maximus esto. 



Quattuor ante dies quam lux Sextilis adusti 
prima spiciferum proferat orbe caput 

113. monachosque Sirmondus : monachusque. 

^ The preacher is seated, as was usual; the congregation 
stands, as was the common, but not universal, custom at 
this time. Augustine {De Catechizandia Rudihus, c. 13, 
a very interesting chapter) expresses approval of the practice 
adopted in some "transmarine" {i.e. Italian) churches, 
where seats were provided for all. He would have them pro- 
vided everywhere, at least for the infirm and the physically tired. 


that flat island hath sent soaring to the skies, of 
what kind was the holy Ufe of old Caprasius and young 
Lupus, what favour was destined for Honoratus their 
founder, and who was that Maximus over whose city 
and monks thou, twice his successor, wert set as 
bishop and abbot; and thou dost also acclaim in 
these praises the coming of Eucherius and the 
return of Hilarius : 
116 Or whether the people committed to thy charge 
now have thee among them, and the lesser folk, 
with thee in their midst, dare to despise the proud 
ways of the great ; or whether thou dost anxiously 
take heed what food the sick or the stranger has 
and how even he is fed whose legs the prison wastes 
imtil they slide loosely beneath the fetters; or 
whether the burial of the dead has all thy thoughts, 
and loathing not the body of one of the poor although 
a green hue be spreading over the livid remains, 
thou with thine own hands dost bear it to the tomb ; 
or whether thou art about to preach from the con- 
spicuous steps of the holy altar, and the eager crowd 
take their stand around thee ^ that their ears may 
drink in the heahng medicine of the Law's exposition 
— whatever thou doest, wherever thou art, I wish 
thee for evennore the blessings of thy three names. 
Fortunate, Honoured, Greatest. 



Four days before the first dawn of August raises 
above the earth its corn-wreathed head there will 

* For Ommatius see 11. 52 n. 



natalis nostris decimus sextusque coletur, 

adventu felix qui petit esse tuo. 
non tibi gemmatis ponentur prandia mensis, 5 

Assyrius murex nee tibi sigma dabit ; 
nee per multiplices abaco splendente cavernas 

argenti nigri pondera defodiam; 
nee scyphus hie dabitur rutilo cui forte metallo 

crustatum stringat tortilis ansa latus. 10 

fercula sunt nobis mediocria, non ita facta 

mensurae ut grandis suppleat ars pretium. 
non panes Libyca solitos flavescere S)n*te 

accipiet Galli rustica mensa tui. 
vina mihi non sunt Gazetica, Chia, Falerna 15 

quaeque Sarepteno pabnite missa bibas. 
pocula non hie sunt inlustria nomine pagi 

quem posuit nostris ipse triumvir agris. 
tu tamen ut venias petimus ; dabit omnia Christus, 

hie mihi qui patriam fecit amore tuo. 20 

16. Sarepteno T, quod Graecae formae respondet: Seraptano 
C F, Saraptano cett. Hie ant Sarepteno aid Sarapteno 
kgendum censeo {de forma SapaTrra vide Pauly-Wi^sowa s.v. 
Sarepta). Latina forma Sareptensis apud Hieronymum in- 

18. quem ego : quod. Vide Class. Quart., loc. cit. 

^ It should have been unnecessary to point out that nostris 
is not nosirorum ; but everyone since Mommsen's day has 
inferred from this line that two of Sidonius's children were 
twins ! No9tris is Dative of the Agent. 

^ Sidonius speaks as a Lyonese to an Arvemian. " Celtic 
Gaul " and Aquitaine, which included Auvergne, were made 
separate provinces by Augustus and remained so. 



be celebrated by my family a sixteenth birthday,^ 
which craves to be made lucky by your coming. 
You shall not have a meal set for you on jewelled 
tables, nor shall Assyrian purple pro\ide your 
dining-couch. I shall not bury in the manifold 
recesses of a glittering side-board masses of dark 
old silver-plate; nor shall there be offered here a 
(*up whose twisted handles clasp sides overlaid with 
ruddy gold. Our salvers are of moderate size, and 
not so made that their artistry atones for their lack 
of bulk. The rustic table of your Gallic ^ friend 
will not receive loaves that were wont to make 
the fields yellow by the Libyan Syrtes. As for wines, 
I have none of Gaza, no Chian or Falernian, none 
sent by the vines of Sarepta ^ for you to drink. There 
are here no cups distinguished by the name of 
that canton which the triumvir himself established 
in our land.* Nevertheless, we beg you to come; 
Christ will provide all things, by whose grace this 
has been made a real homeland ^ for me through 
your love. 

• The Zarephath of 1 Kings 17. 9f. (Sarepta in Luke 4. 
26), between Tyre and Sidon. There is an interesting re- 
miniscence of this passage in Corippus, In Lavdem Iitstini III. 
87 f. : dulcia Bacchi munera quae Sarepta (note the quantity) 
ferax, quae Gaza crearat. 

* Cass. Dio, XLVI. 50, states that Lug(u)dunum was 
founded in 43 B.C. by Munatius Plancus and M. Aemilius Lepi- 
dus (who was about to become a triumvir), and that the first 
inhabitants were refugees from Vienna (mod. Vienne). As the 
district round Vienn« was famous for its wine, I believe that 
Sidon i us means " cups of the wine of Vienne . " The Viennenses 
are rather loosely described as a pagu^, but that is no serious 
objection. " Our (or possibly " my ") land " refers to the 
territory of Lyons. See Class. Quart, loc. cit., p. 21. 

' This refers to the poet's new home in Auvergne. 



Si quis Avitacum dignaris visere nostram, 

non tibi displiceat : sic quod habes placeat. 
aemula Baiano tolluntur culmina cono 

parque cothurnato vertice fulget apex, 
garrula Gauranis plus murmurat unda fluentis 5 

contigui collis lapsa supercilio. 
Lucrinum stagnum dives Campania noUet, 

aequora si nostri cerneret ilia lacus. 
illud puniceis ornatur litus echinis : 

piscibus in nostris, hospes, utrumque vides. 10 
si libet et placido partiris gaudia corde, 

quisquis ades, Baias tu facis hie animo. 



Intrate algentes post balnea torrida fluctus 
ut solidet calidam frigore lympha cutem ; 

et licet hoc solo mergatis membra liquore, 
per stagnum nostrum lumina vestra natant. 

1 See introductory note to Epist. II. 2. With nostram 
understand villain. 

* For the conical roof cf. Episl. II. 2. 5. Apparently a 
prominent bathing-establishment at Baiae had a roof of that 

* Cothurnato gives the idea of dignity, possibly also of 
height, as in Pliny, Epist. IX. 7. 2, of which this is probably 
a rather loose reminiscence. There Pliny tells us of two villas 
which he possessed on the shores of Lake Como. One was on 
a height, with a view of the lake, the other was down on the 
lake-side. The former he called Tragedy because it seemed to be 
supported on buskins {cothurni), the latter he named Comedy 
because it seemed to rest on humble " socks " {socculi). 





Whoe'er you be, if you deign to visit our Avitacum,^ 
let it not dissatisfy you : so may what you possess 
satisfy you. Here a roof ^ rises that rivals the cone 
of Baiae, and no whit inferior shines the peaked top 
>vith its proud crest.^ There the chattering water 
that falls from the brow of the neighbouring hill 
babbles more busily than the streams that flow from 
Gaurus. Rich Campania would be ill-pleased with 
the Lucrine mere if she beheld the waters of our lake. 
That other shore is adorned by red sea-urchins, but 
in our fish, O stranger, you see both characters.* 
If you are willing, and if you share our joys with 
contented heart, gentle visitor, whoever you be, 
you can create a Baiae here in your fancy. 



Enter ye the chill waves after the steaming baths, 
that the water by its coldness may brace your heated 
skin; and though you plunge your limbs in this 
liquid alone,^ our pond makes your eyes swim. 

* The meaning seems to be " You can see in our fish both 
characteristics of the echini of Baiae," i.e. both " fishiness " 
and redness (cf. Epist. II. 2. 17), or possibly redness and prickli- 
ness. But the text may be corrupt. It is juct possible that 
utrumque vides is a corruption of acumen idem, " there is the 
same sharpness," the fish having a sharp flavour (cf. Plin. N. H. 
XIV. 124, saporis quaedam acumina) and the echini sharp 

' Perhaps the point is " Although it is only water, with no 
stronger liquor in it." For another explanation see Semple, 
op. cit., p. 113. 




Natalis noster Nonas instare Novembres 
admonet : occurras non rogo, sed iubeo. 

sit tecum coniunx, duo nunc properate ; sed illud 
post annum optamus tertius ut venias. 



Quattuor haec primum pisces nox insuit hamis ; 

inde duos tenui, tu quoque sume duos, 
quos misi, sunt maiores ; rectissimus ordo est; 

namque animae nostrae portio maior eras. 


1 . Dum apud Narbonem quondam Martium dictum 
sed nuper factum moras necto, subiit animum quos- 

^ Ecdicius was the son of the Emperor Avitus, and therefore 
the brother of Sidonius' wife, Papianilla. He was the hero of 
the last resistance of Auvergne to the Goths (see Introd., 
p. xlvi), Epist. II. 1 and III. 3 are addressed to him. This 
poem shows that the birthday of Sidonius was the 5th of 
November. Klotz (Pauly-Wissowa, R.-E. s.v. Sidonius) thinks 
the word instare may mean that the birthday was the day 
before the Nones (i.e. the 4th). Obviously he misunderstood 
natalis, although the meaning found here occurs even in Ovid 
and Tibullus. The meaning " birthday " does not fit the 
rest of the sentence. 

2 The owner of " Burgus " was Pontius Leontius of Bor- 
deaux, " easily the first of the Aquitanians " {Epist. VIII. 12. 5). 
The poem is very obscure in places, and gives no adequate idea 
of the arrangement of the buildings. The name of this 




The genius of my birth reminds me that the Nones 
of November are at hand. I do not invite you, I 
order you to come to me. Bring your wife with 
you ; hasten — a couple this time, but next year 
I hope there will be three of you. 



This night for the first time fixed four fishes on 
my hooks. Of these I have kept two ; do you also 
take two. Those I am sending are the largest ; 
the arrangement is perfectly just, for you are the 
larger portion of my heart. 



1. As I was trying to spin out the days at Narbo ^ 
— which was named of old and has in recent times 
become in reality the town of Mars — it occurred to 

Burgus is believed to survive in the modem Bourg-sur- 
Gironde. Stevens, p. 65 n. 1, refers to Naufroy, Uistoire 
de Bourg-sur-Gironde (1898), p. 9, which I have not been able 
to consult. 

* Narbo Martius was the full name of the town, but the 
origin of Martius is uncertain. In a.d. 462, the town was 
occupied by Theodoric II. For its struggles with Theodoric I 
see 7. 475 sqq. See also n. on 23. 59-87. 


piam secundum amorem tuum hexametros concinnare 
[vel condere], quibus lectis oppido scires, etsi utrique 
nostrum disparatis aequo pluseulum locis lar familiaris 
incolitur, non idcirco tam nobis animum dissidere 
._quam patriam. 2. habes igitur hie Dionysum inter 
triumph! Indici oblectamenta marcentem; habes et 
Phoebum, quern tibi iure poetico inquilinum factum 
constat ex numine, ilium scilicet Phoebum Anthedii 
mei perfamiliarem, cuius coUegio vir praefectus non 
modo musicos quosque verum etiam geometras, 
arithmeticos et astrologos disserendi arte supervenit ; 
siquidem nullum hoc exactius compertum habere 
censuerim quid sidera zodiaci obliqua, quid plane- 
tarum vaga, quid exotici sparsa praevaleant. 3. nam 
ita his, ut sic dixerim, membris philosophiae claret 
ut videatur mihi lulium Firmicum,^ lulianum Ver- 
tacum, FuUonium Saturninum, in libris matheseos 
peritissimos conditores, absque interprete ingenio 
tantum sufFragante didicisse. nos vestigia doctrinae 
ipsius adorantes coram canoro cygno ravum anserem 
profitemur. quid te amphus moror ? Burgum tuam, 
quo iure amicum decuit, meam feci, probe sciens vel 
materiam tibi esse placituram, etiamsi ex solido 
poema displiceat. 

1 lulium Firmicum solus ezhibet Vatican. 3421. 

^ The two mentions of Phoebus are not very clear. The 
first seems to allude to the fact that Paulinus, son of Pontius, 
is a poet (n. on 9. 304), the second to some poetical society 
or institute of which Anthedius was president. On Anthedius 
see 9. 312 a. 



me to put together some hexameters after your own 
heart. I hoped that when you read them you 
might feel well assured that, although our respective 
household gods are set in places a bit farther from 
one another than they ought to be, it does not follow 
that our souls are as far apart as our homes. 2. Here, 
then, you can find Dionysus bemused amid the de- 
lights of his Indian triumph, and Phoebus ^ also, 
who, as is well known, is for you a god no longer but 
rather, through a poet's privilege, an inmate of 
your house — that same Phoebus who is a great 
crony of my friend Anthedius, head of the Apolline 
college, a man who surpasses in the art of lecturing 
not only all musicians but all geometers, arith- 
meticians, and astrologers ; for I should think no 
one knows more perfectly the special influences 
of the various heavenly bodies — the slanting signs 
of the zodiac, the roaming planets, or the scattered 
stars of the extra-zodiacal region. 3. He is indeed 
so eminent in these members (if I may so term 
them) of philosophy that he seems to me to have 
mastered without an interpreter, solely by dint of his 
own genius, the greatest savants among writers on 
astrology, lulius Firmicus, lulianus Vertacus, and 
Fullonius Saturninus. Following reverently the 
footsteps of such 2 learning, I pretend to no higher 
title than a hoarse gander in the presence of a 
tuneful swan. But why delay you further ? I have 
made your home, " The Castle," my own, using a 
friend's proper privilege, knowing full well that my 
subject-matter will please you even though the poem 
should be entirely displeasing. 

2 Jpsi'us is here a mere demonstrative. See critical note 
on Epist. I. 9. 7. 




Bistonii stabulum regis, Busiridis aras, 
Antiphatae mensas et Taurica regna Thoantis 
atque Ithaci ingenio fraudatum luce Cyclopa 
portantem frontis campo per concava montis 
par prope transfossi tenebrosum luminis antrum, 5 
hospes, adi, si quis Burgum taciturus adisti. 
et licet in carmen non passim laxet habenas 
Phoebus et hie totis non pandat t carbasafl fandi , 
quisque tam^n tantos non laudans ore penates 
inspicis,^ii^iceri^: resonat sine voce voluntas ; 10 
nam tua te taciturn livere silentia clamant. 

Ergo age, Pi^rias, Erato, mihi percute chordas ; 
responsent Satyri, digitumque pedemque moventes 
ludant, et tremulo non rumpant cantica saltu. 
quidquid forte Dryas vel quidquid Hamadryas 
umquam 15 

conexis sibimet festum^plausere Napaeis, 
dependant modo, Burge,^tfbT,~vel Naidas istic, 
Nereidum chorus alme, doce, cum forte Garunna 
hue redeunte venis pontumque in flumine sulcas. 
pande igitur causas, Erato, laribusque sit ede 20 
quis genius ; tantum non est sine praesule culmen. 

8. totus TF. 

1 Diomede, who fed his mares on human flesh. 

* King of Egypt, who sacrificed foreign visitors to his 
country, until he was slain by Hercules. 

* King of the cannibal Laestrygones (Homer, Od. X. 80 

* King of Tauris, where human sacrifices were offered. 




Stranger, whoever you may be, that have visited 
the Castle and yet are fain to keep silence about it, 
may you visit the stalls of the Bistonian king,^ the 
altars of Busiris,^ the table of Antiphates,^ the 
Tauric realm of Thoas,* and the Cyclops who was 
robbed of his sight by the cunning of the man of 
Ithaca and bears on the wide expanse of his fore- 
head, as he ranges through his mountain-cave, a 
gloomy cavern well-nigh as vast, the socket of his 
pierced eye : and although Phoebus suffers not all 
and sundry to give free rein to song and does not 
here spread out fully the sails of eloquence for every 
man, yet whoever you are who, with no praise on 
your lips, view that splendid home, you are thereby 
put on view yourself; your inclination loudly heralds 
itself though without voice, for your silence pro- 
claims you dumb with jealousy. 

Come then, Erato, strike the Pierian strings for 
me. Let the Satyrs accompany the strain, playing 
their part with movement of finger and of foot, 
but not interrupting the melody with jerky leaps. 
All the festive dances that Dryads or Hamadryads 
hand in hand with the nymphs of the glen have 
ever danced may they now bestow on thee alone, 
great Castle ! Kindly choir of Nereids, teach the 
Naiads there at the season when the Garonne flows 
back thither and ye come, cleaving the sea in the 
midst of the river.^ Reveal then, O Erato, the 
origin of the house, and declare what protecting 
spirit watches that home; for so great an edifice 
cannot lack a divine guardian. 

' See 7. 393 n. and w. 105-113 below. 



Forte sagittiferas Euan populatus Erythras 
vite capistratas cogebat ad esseda tigres, 
intrabat duplicem qua^[^^ivi'acemifer arcum. 
marcidus ipse sedet curru ; madet ardua cervix 25 
sudati de rore meri, caput aurea rumpunt 
cornua et indigenam iaculantur fulminis ignem 
(sumpserat hoc nascens ^rimum, cum transiit olim 
in patrium de matre femur) ; fert tempus utrumque 
veris opes rutilosque ligat vindemia flores ; 30 

cantharus et thyrsus dextra laevaque feruntur, 
nee tegit exertos, sed tangit palla lacertos ; 
\ dulce natant ocu H, quos si fors vertat in hostem, 
^ attonitos/ j^olun^ dum cernit, inebriat Indos. 

turn salebris saliens quotiens se concutit axis, 35 
passim deciduo perfunditur orbita musto. 
Bassaridas, Satyros, Panas Faunosque docebat 
ludere Silenus iam numine plenus alumno, 
sed comptus tamen ille caput ; nam vertice nudo 
amissos sertis studet excusare capillos. 40 

Corniger inde novi fit Ganges pompa triumphi ; 
cernuus inpexam faciem stetit ore madenti et 
arentes vitreis adiuvit fletibus undas ; 
coniectas in vincla manus post terga revinxit 
■^ ' pampinus ; hie sensim captivo umore refusus 45 
sponte refrondescit per bracchia roscida palmes.Q * 

1 Eryth. : n. on 2. 447. 

2 Both the Latin and the translation are rather strained. 
One is tempted to suspect that a line has dropped out of the 
text. The " double arch " can scarcely be anything but the 
double yoke, illustrations of which may be seen in the ordinary 
dictionaries of antiquities. The pole was passed through the 
connecting-piece between the two yokes. Those editors who 
punctuate so as to connect v. 24 with v. 25 make duplicem 
arcum uninteUigible. 



It chanced that Bacchus, having laid waste 
Erythrae,^ the famed haunt of bowmen, was subject- 
ing vine-bridled tigers to his chariot where a pole 
that bore clustering grapes entered the double arch.^ 
In the car sat the god himself, all languorous ; 
his proud neck sweated with exuded wine ; from 
his head sprang golden horns, which hurled forth 
his native levin-fire (this he had first received at his 
birth long before, when he passed from his mother 
into his father's thigh). Both his temples were 
covered with the bounties of springtime, and the 
vintage crop fastened the red flowers in their place ; 
his right hand carried a goblet and his left a thyrsus, 
and his arms were bare, the cloak just touching with- 
out hiding them. There was charm in his swinmiing 
eyes, and if he chanced to turn them upon the enemy 
he dazed those Indians by his mere look and made 
them drunken. Whenever the wheel jolted, forced 
upward by rough places, the track was soaked all 
over with a falling shower of new wine. Bassarids, 
Satyrs, Pans and Fauns were being taught to frolic 
by Silenus ; he was now filled with the divinity that 
he had reared, but his head was in orderly array; 
for on his bare pate he took pains to palliate the loss 
of hair with a garland. 

The next show in this new triumph is homed 
Ganges. With hanging head he has taken his place ; 
his face is unkempt and his cheeks bedewed, and with 
his glassy tears he has helped to replenish his parched 
stream. His hands have been cast into chains, 
and a vine-branch has fastened them behind his back ; 
and gradually the water thus held prisoner has caused 
fresh growth, and of its own accord the vine-shoot 
sends forth new leafage all over those dewy arms. 



Nee non et rapti coniunx ibi vineta mariti 
it croeeas demissa genas vetitaque reeondi 
lampade cum Solis radiis Aurora rubebat. 

Adfuit hie etiara post perdita cinnama Phoenix, 50 
formidans mortem sibi non superesse secundam. 
succedit captiva cohors, quae fercula gazis 
fert onerata suis ; ebur hie hebenpsque vel aurum 
et niveae pieeo raptae de pectore bacae 
gestantur ; quicumque nihil sustentat, odoros 55 
mittitur in nexus ; videas hie ipsa placere 
supplicia et virides violis halare catenas. 

Vltima nigrantes incedunt praeda elephanti ; 

informis cui forma gregi : riget hispida dorso 

vix ferrum passura cutis ; quippe improba ^f{!item\l 60 
nativam nee tela forant, contracta vicissim 
tensaque terga feris crepitant usuque cavendi 
pellunt excussis impactum missile rugis. 

lamque iter ad Thebas per magnum victor agebat 
aera et ad summas erexerat orgia nubes, 65 

cum videt Aonia venientem Delion arce. 
grypas et ipse tenet : vultus his laurea curvos 
fronde lupata ligant ; hederis quoque circumplexis 
pendula lora virent ; sensim fera subvolat ales 
aerias terraeque vias, ne forte citato 70 

alarum strepitu lignosas frangat habenas. 
aeternum nitet ipse genas ; crevere corymbis 
56. odoros edit. Buret : odoris. 

1 The " stolen husband " is probably Tithonus, though he 
is not the only beautiful youth that Aurora carried oflE. 
Commentators wrongly take the husband to be Ganges. 

2 2. 417 n. 

^ Apollo. The " Aonian height " is Mt. Helicon, sacred 
to Apollo and the Muses. In v. 96 below Aonios colles means 
" Boeotian hills." Boeotia (especially Thebes and Orchomenos) 
was famous for its worship of Dionvsus. 


There also walks in chains the wife of a stolen 
husband,^ Aurora. Her saffron-hued countenance 
is do\vncast, but her lamp may not be hidden, and 
she is flushed with the glow of the sun's rays. 

Here also appeai-s the Phoenix, ^ who has lost his 
cinnamon and fears that after this no second death 
can be his. Then comes a company of prisoners 
bearing trays laden ^vith their treasures ; here are 
carried ivory and ebony and gold and snow-white 
gems snatched from pitch-black bosoms. Whoever 
does not support a load is consigned to fragrant 
bonds, and it is plain that their very punishment is 
pleasing, for the verdant chains breathe forth the 
odour of violets. 

Last of the spoil, the dusky elephants advance, 
a troop of unshapely shape. On their backs is a 
skin rough and stiff, that will scarce let steel pass 
through it; for even ruthless javelins fail to pierce 
that natural barrier, and the hide crackles as it 
stretches and contracts in turn and with practised 
defence repels the smiting missile by shaking out 
its \\Tinkles. 

Now the conqueror was speeding his way to Thebes 
through the vast air and had taken up his revelling 
rout to the clouds, when he saw the god of Delos ^ 
approaching from the Aonian height. This god 
likewise wields the rein, but his steeds are gryphons ; 
curbs of leafy laurel bind their hooked beaks ; the 
hanging reins are green with ivy intertwined. Slowly 
and steadily do those winged beasts fly along their 
paths in air and over land, lest haply by a violent 
flapping of their wings they break the woody reins. 
The countenance of the god shines with an eternal 
radiance ; clusters of ivy-berries stand out upon his 



tempora et auratum verrit coma concolor axem ; 
laeva parte tenet vasta dulcedine raucam 
caelato Pythone lyram, pars dextra sagittas 75 

continet atque alio resonant es murmur e nervos. 
ibant Pipliades pariter mediumque noveno 
circumsistentes umbrabant syrmate currum. 
pendet per teretes tripodas Epidaurius anguis 
diffusus sanctum per colla salubria virus. 80 

hie et crinisatas iungebat Pegasus alas, 
portans doctiloquo facundum crure Crotonem. 

Vt sese iunxere chori, consurgit uterque 
fratris in amplexus, sed paulo segnior Euan, 
dum pudet instabiles, si surgat, prodere plantas. 85 
turn Phoebus " quo pergis ? " ait, " num forte nocentes, 
Bacche, petis Thebas ? te cretus Echione nempe 
abnegat esse deum. linque his, rogo, moenia, linque, 
et mecum mage flecte rotas, despexit Agaue 
te colere et nosmet Niobe ; riget inde superba, 90 
vulnera tot patiens quot spectat vulnera ventris, 
optantemque mori gravius dementia fixit ; 
parcere saepe malum est sensumque inferre dolori. 
ipsa autem nato occiso Pentheia mater 
amplius ut furiat numquid non sana futura est ? 95 
ergone Aonios colles habitare valemus, 

82. Crotonem Wilamoioitz : Creontem. 
90. superba Luetjohann : superbuin. 

* i.e. different from that of the lyre-strings. 

2 Croton (Crotos, Crotus) was a son of Pan and Eupheme, 
nurse of the muses. He became the constellation Sagittarius. 
Crure alludes to metre ; pede would have been clearer. 

^ Pentheus. 

* The mother of Pentheus. She had cast a slight on the 
parentage of Bacchus, who exacted vengeance by driving her 
and her sisters into a frenzy, in which they slew Pentheus. 

' i.e. just as Niobe's preservation was a cruel mercy, 



brow and his gilded car is swept by tresses of like hue. 
On his left he holds a sonorous lyre of ineffable sweet- 
ness, with Python graven upon it; on his right 
are arrows and strings that echo with a different 
twang.^ With him advance the Muses, all gathered 
around him and casting on the midst of his chariot 
the shadow of their ninefold robes. The serpent 
of Epidaurus hangs loosely coiled about the shapely 
tripod, with a hallowed essence diffused throughout his 
health-giving neck. Joined to them also is Pegasus 
with his hairy wings, carrying on his back Croton,^ 
whose skilled foot brings forth eloquent utterance. 

WTien the two bands came together each god arose 
to give a brotherly embrace, but Bacchus a little more 
slowly than the other, for he was shy of betraying 
his unsteady feet by rising. Then Phoebus said, 
" Whither away ? Can it be, Bacchus, that thou 
art seeking guilty Thebes? True, Echion's de- 
scendant^ denies thy godhead: nevertheless, leave 
the city to them, I pray thee ; yea, do so, and rather 
make thy wheels go my way. Agaue* scorned 
thy worship and Niobe mine; hence was Niobe 
turned to stone in her pride, herself suffering a 
wound for every wound that she saw her offspring 
suffer ; and as she longed for death my mercy gave 
her that rigid form, a boon worse than death ; 'tis 
oft an ill service to spare and to inflict on pain longer 
suffering. So shall not even Pentheus' mother, 
having slain her son, regain her seiis^^^ only to 
become more frenzied still ?^ Nay, can we dwell 
on the Aonian heights ^ when in time to come an 

80 the restoration of Agaue's sanity will result in a madness 
more terrible than before, because it will enable her to realise 
what she has done. Numquid twn is often used in Late Latin 
for nonne. • See n. on r. 66. 



cum patris extincti thalamis potietur adulter, 
frater natorum, coniunx genetricis habendus, 
vitricus ipse suus ? cordi est si iungere gressum, 
dicam qua pariter sedem tellure locemus. 100 

" Est locus, irrigua qua rupe, Garunna, rotate7^ 
et tu qui simili festinus in aequora lapsu "^ 

exis curvata, Durani muscose, sabuiTa, 
iam pigrescentes sensim confunditis amnes. 
currit in adversum hie pontus multoque recursu 105 
flumina quas volvunt et spernit et expetit undas. 
at cum summotus lunaribus incrementis 
ipse Garunna suos in dorsa recolligit aestusT" 
praecipiti fluctu raptim redit atque videtur 
in fontem iam non refluus sed defluus ire. 110 

turn recipit laticem quamvis minor ille minorem 
stagnanti de fratre suum, turgescit et ipse 
Oceano propriasque facit sibi litora ripas. 
hos inter fluvios, uni mage proximus undae, est 
aethera mons rumpens alta spectabilis a^gfij^- — i 115 

plus Celsos habiturus f^rngiWrnflmg^ifi-ciPjiatiim. 

quem generis princeps Paulinus Pontius olim, 
cum Latins patriae dominabitur, ambiet altis 
moenibus, et celsae transmittent aera turres ; 
quarum culminibus sedeant commune micantes 120 
pompa vel auxilium ; non illos machina muros, 
non aries, non alta strues vel proximus ^ggeryJ 
non quae stridentes torquet catapulta molares, 

111. mmorem. Luetjohann : minore. 
1 14. uni : Durani Wilamomtz. 

^ Oedipus. ' The Dordogne. 

^ i.e. by the spring tides. 


adulterer^ shall possess himself of his murdered 
father's bride, to be reckoned brother of his sons, 
husband of his mother, and stepfather to himself? 
If thou art fain to go with me, I will tell thee in 
what land we should make our joint habitation. 

" There is a place where two rivers, the Garunna, 
sped whirling down from a dripping mountain-crag, 
and the mossy Duranius,^ which rushes with like 
swoop to the plain and at last flows out from a bend 
in its sandy channel, gradually commingle their 
slowing streams. Here the sea rushes up against 
the current and with constant coming and going 
repels or courts the waters that the rivers roll down. 
But when the Garunna, repulsed by the waxing of 
the moon,^ once more gathers its own tidal flood upon 
its back, then it returns, speeding in headlong 
billows, and now seems to flow, not backwards, 
but downwards to its source. Then even the 
Duranius, though as the lesser it receives from its 
flooding brother but a lesser share of the water, is 
hkewise swollen by the ocean, and its banks become 
sea-shores. Between these rivers, but nearer to 
one than to the other, there is a mountain piercing 
the sky, conspicuous in its towering height but 
destined to have owners still more elevated and 
to be the birthplace of senators. Some day, 
when his land shall be under Latin sway, Paulinus 
Pontius, the founder of the family, shall surround 
that hill with walls, and the towers shall soar beyond 
earth's atmosphere ; thus on their summits shall rest, 
shining with a common radiance, the two lights of 
Stateliness and Succour. Those walls no engine, 
no battering-ram, no high-piled structure or near- 
built mound, no catapult hurhng the hissing stones, 



sed nee testudo nec t'vineij nec rota currens 
iam positis scalis umquam quassare valebunt. 125 
cernere iam videor quae sint tibi, Burge, futura 
(diceris sic) ; namque domus de flumine surgunt 
splendentesque sedent per/i^rnpii^^rnUJIth prnn a p 
hie eiim vexatur piceis aquilonibus aestus, 
scrupeus asprata latrare crepidine pumex 130 

ineipit ; at fraetis saliens e eautibus altum 
exeutitur torrens ipsisque aspergine teetis 
impluit ae toUit nautas et saepe iocoso 
ludit naufragio ; nam tempestate peracta 
destituit refluens missas in balnea classes. 135 

ipsa autem quantis, quibus aut sunt fulta eolumnis ! 
cedat puniceo pretiosus livor in antro 
Synnados, et Nomadu m qui portat eburnea saxa 
eollis et herbosis quae C^ernant marmora venis ; 
eandentem iam nolo Paron, iam nolo Caryston ; 140 
vilior est rubro quae pendet purpura saxo, 

" Et ne posteritas dubitet quis conditor extet, 
fixus in introitu lapis est ; hie nomina signat 
auctorum; sed propter aqua, et vestigia pressa 
quae rapit et fuso detergit gurgite eaenirai. 145 

* This has wrongly been taken as a reference to nautical 
sports such as are described in Epist. II. 2. 19; but Sidonius 
merely says that there is a gap between rocks through which 
water flows from the river into the baths, which are built on 
the bank. When a storm arises boats are sometimes driven 
through this inlet right into the baths, where they are apt to 
have ridiculous experiences. 

' For these marbles see 5. 34-39 nn. 

' The next eight lines are desperately obscure. Sidonius is 
writing to one who knew the house, and he is more intent on 
ingenious conceits than on inteUigibility. Paries (146) is 
possibly the front wall of the house, on the inner side of which 
is the atrium. The decorative slabs (w. 146 f.) are on the 
inside of the wall. Vv. 150-155 describe the atrium, which 



no tortoise-roof, no mantlet, no wheel rushing onwards 
with ladders already in position shall ever have power 
to shake. Methinks I see the future that is in 
store for thee, O Castle (for so thou shalt be called). 
The house rises from the river's brim and gleaming 
baths are set within the circuit of the battlements : 
here when the surging waters are troubled by the 
murky north-wind, the eaten, jagged rock sends 
forth a roar from the scarred bank; then from a 
cleft in the crags a torrent leaps forth and is shot 
aloft, showering spray on to the very roofs ; it lifts up 
men in boats and often mocks them with a sportive 
shipwreck; for when the storm is over the flood 
retreats and strands whole fleets that have been 
forced up into the baths. ^ But the columns that 
support the baths, of what manner and size are they ? 
Before them must bow the costly dark hue in the 
purple quarry of Synnada and the Numidian hill 
that bears stones like ivory and the marble that 
burgeons with grass-like veins ; henceforth I spurn 
gleaming Paros and Carystos ; poorer now seems 
the purple suspended in the blushing rock.^ 

" Lest posterity should be uncertain whom the 
building boasts as its stablisher, a stone is set in 
the ground at the entrance with the names of the 
founders clearly graven upon it ; and there is water 
near at hand which clears away all footprints and 
wipes off all mud with its flooding stream. ^The 

is crescent-shaped (lunata atria, 157). With much diffidence 
I have made two alterations in the text. The meaning may- 
be that a porticus duplex, i.e. a double row of pillars, runs 
straight through from the entrance, thus dividing the floor 
into " two floor-spaces." At the far end the two rows bend 
round in opposite directions, following the rounded wall until 
they come near to the paries from which they started. Then 



sectilibus paries tabulis crustatus ad aurea 

tecta venit, fulvo nimis abscondenda metallo; 

nam locuples fortuna domus non passa latere 

divitias prodit, cum sic sua culmina celat. 

haec post assurgit duplicemque supervenit aream 150 

porticus ipsa duplex, duplici non cognita plaustro ; 

quam rursum moUi subductam vertice curvae 

obversis paulum respectant cornibus alae. 

ipsa diem natum cerni^][5inua^ne"dextro, 

fronte videns medium, laevo visuraTcadentem. 155 

non perdit quicquam trino de cardine caeli 

et totum solem lunata per atria servat. 

sacra tridentiferi lovis hie armenta profundo 

Pharnacis immergit genitor ; percussa securi 

corpora cornipedum certasque rubescere plagas 160 

sanguineo de rore putes ; stat vulneris horror 

verus, et occisis vivit pictura quadrigis. 

Ponticus hinc rector numerosis Cyzicon armis 

claudit ; at hinc sociis consul Lucullus opem fert, 

compulsusque famis discrimina summa subire 165 

invidet obsesso miles Mithridaticus hosti. 

enatat hie pelagus Romani militis ardor 

et chartam madido transportat corpore siccam. 

150. aream ego : aedem. 

152. quam rursum ego : quarum unam. 

each row turns inward for a short distance {obversis = 
" turning athwart " or " turning so as to face one another "), 
and thus " looks back upon " the " double colonnade." The 
winding pillars on each side form the alae. Sidonius 
welcomed the word because it made a ludicrous combination 
with cornibus (" wings " and " horns "). Duplici . . . plaustro 
means " not exposed to the north." 



house-wall is faced with slabs of cut marble up 
to the gilded ceiling, which is right fitly concealed 
by the yellow metal, for the rich prosperity of the 
house, brooking no secrecy, reveals its wealth when 
thus it hides its roof. Behind this part there soars, 
passing high above a double floor, a colonnade 
likewise double, unknown to the double Wain. 
This again diverges gently backward, and finally 
these curving wings turn their horns inward for a 
little way, and so look back upon it. Its right bend 
sees the dawn, its front the noonday light, its left 
the fading day. It loses none of these three quarters 
of the heavens, but preserves the whole of the sun 
in the crescent hall. There can be seen the father 
of Pharnaces plunging into the deep the horses 
sacrificed to the trident-bearing Jove ^ ; you would 
think the bodies of the steeds had in very truth been 
smitten by the axe and that real gashes were redden- 
ing with spurts of blood ; each ghastly wound seems 
true, and that slain team makes the picture live. 
Xext is seen on one side the ruler of Pontus beleaguer- 
ing Cyzicus with multitudinous host; but on the 
other side Lucullus brings aid, and the warriors of 
Mithridates, forced to undergo the direst straits of 
hunger, envy their besieged foe. Here a bold 
Roman soldier is swinrndng to land, carrying across 
the water a scroll all dry despite his dripping 

^ Appian, Bell. Mith. c, 70, says that Mithridates, before 
proceeding against Cotta in 74 B.C., sacrificed a chariot team of 
four horses by flinging tliem into the sea, but he does not say 
that the horses were first slaughtered. The *' trident-bearing 
Jove " is Neptune. 

* For this story see Flor. I. 40 (III. 6) 16. 



" Desuper in longum porrectis horrea tectis 
crescunt atque amplis angustant fructibus aedes. 170 
hue veniet calidis quantum metit Africa terris, 
quantum vel Calaber, quantum colit Apulus acer, 
quanta Leontino turgescit messis'iicervo) 
quantum Mygdonio eommittunt Gargara suleo, 
quantum, quae tacitis Cererem venerata choreis, 175 
Attica Triptolemo civi condebat Eleusin, 
cum populis hominum glandem linquentibus olim 
fulva fruge data iam saecula fulva perirent. 
porticus ad gelidos patet hinc aestiva triones ; 
hinc calor innocuus thermis hiemalibus exit 180 

atque locum in tempus mollit ; quippe ilia rigori 
pars est apta magis ; nam quod fugit ora Leonis, 
inde Lycaoniae rabiem male sustinet Vrsae. 
arcis at in thermas longe venit altior amnis 
et cadit in montem patulisque canalibus actus 185 
circumfert clausum cava per divortia flumen. 
occiduum ad solem post horrea surgit opaca 
j5[uae dominis hiberna domus ; strepit hie bona flamma 
appositas depasta trabes ; sinuata camino 
ardentis perit unda globi fractoque flagello 190 

spargit lentatum per culmina tota vaporem. 
continuata dehinc videas quae conditor ausus 
aemula Palladiis textrina educere templis. 
hac celsi quondam coniunx reverenda Leonti, 

181. inadd.Mohr. 

^ The sun is (or rather was) in Leo in July. 

^ " Falls into (not down or from) the mountain " : a 
characteristically feeble paradox. The meaning is that 
trenches are dug in the mountain-side to form conduits, ami 
the water falls into them. 



" Higher up the granaries multiply with their long 
stretch of buildings and with produce within so 
abundant that even their vast space is cramped. 
Hither shall come as great a harvest as is reaped 
in Africa's warm fields or cultivated by the Calabrian 
or the brisk Apulian, as rich a crop as swells for the 
stacks of Leontini, or as Gargarus commits to its 
Lydian furrow, or as Attic Eleusis, that worshipped 
Ceres with mystic dances, used to garner for her 
citizen Triptolemus, when long ago the tribes of 
mankind renounced the acorn and the golden age 
was perishing now that the golden grain was given. 
Then there is a summer portico exposed on one side 
to the chill north : at the other end a harmless 
warmth comes out from the winter baths and tempers 
the air of the place when the season requires ; 
so this end is best suited to the cold weather; for 
the part that fights shy of the Lion's mouth ^ is 
thereby unfitted to endure the rage of Lycaon's 
Bear. Into the warm baths of the mansion comes a 
stream from far above, which falls into the mountain,^ 
being forced through open channels till at last it circu- 
lates its waters under cover through divergent tun- 
nels. Behind the shaded granaries there rises toward 
the west a structure that is the winter home of the 
master and mistress ; here a goodly fire crackles, 
which devours the great logs that are piled near 
at hand; the glowing cloud that comes forth in 
billows curls upward from the stove, +hen fades 
away, and >vith its blast now broken it spreads a 
mitigated heat all over the roof. Joined to the room 
may be seen the weaving-chambers, which the 
founder dared to build in a style that vied with the 
temples of Pallas. Some day it shall be blazoned 


VOL. I. M 


qua non ulla magis nurus umquam Pontia gaudet 195 
inlustris pro sorte viri, celebrabitur aede 
vel Syrias vacuasse colus vel serica fila 
per cannas torsisse leves vel stamine fulvo 
praegnantis^usi mollitum nesse metallumj 
parietibus posthinc rutilat quae machina iunctis 200 
fert recutitorum primordia ludaeorum. 
perpetuum pictura micat ; nee tempore longo 
depretiata suas turpant pigmenta figuras. 
%}>^' *' Flecteris ad laevam : te porticus accipit ampla 
y" directis curvata viis, ubi margine summo 205 

pendet et tar^Ts^ stat saxea silva columnis. 
alta volubilibus patet hie cenatio valvis ; 
fusilis euripus propter; cadit unda superne 
ante fores pendente lacu, venamque secuti 
undosa inveniunt nantes cenacula pisces. 210 

conuninus erigitur vel prima vel extima turris ; 
mos erit hie dominis hibernum ^igE|^ locare. 
huius conspicuo residens in culmine saepe 
dilectum nostris Musis simul atque capellis 
aspiciam montem; lauri spatiabor in istis 215 

frondibus, hie trepidam credam mihi credere 

iam si forte gradus geminam convertls ad Arcton 
ut venias in templa dei qui maximus ille est, 

^ The distaff is called " Syrian " because the lady is working 
with wool akeady dyed in Syrian purple. 

2 Perhaps rather "on the extreme edge is perched" (of. 
collis margine, 24. 66). The " forest of columns was perhaps 
built on an overhanging ledge at one end of the hill. 

' Sidonius plays on the literal meaning of cenacvlum, 
"dining-room, ' and the derived meaning, "upper chamber." 


forth by fame that in this sanctuary the worshipful 
lady of the great Leontius, than whom no other wife 
of the Pontian house ever rejoiced more in her 
husband's illustrious rank, "Stripped the Syrian ^ 
distaff and twisted the silken strands along the 
light reeds and spun the pliant metal, making the 
spindle swell with thread of gold. Next to this, 
with wall abutting, there stands a resplendent 
structure, which shows depicted the beginnings of 
the circumcised Jews. The brightness of the 
picture is everlasting: time brings no degeneration 
in the colours to mar the painted forms. 

" You turn left, and a spacious colonnade receives 
you, its shape curved but its passages straight. 
To the extreme edge clings ^ a crowded forest of close- 
set columns. Here is built a lofty dining-room 
Nvith folding-doors. A conduit of cast metal is 
near; there is a suspended tank in front of the 
door: into it the water falls from above, and 
fishes, advancing with the flow, find the end of their 
swimming in an upper room — but a watery one.^ 
Close at hand rises the first, or, if it please you better, 
the last of the towers. There the masters of the 
house will be wont to set their dining-couch in 
\vinter. Often-times on its far-seen roof will I sit 
and view that mountain beloved by my Muses and 
by the goats ; I will walk amid those laurel boughs, 
and there I shall believe that the timorous Daphne 
believes in me. Then if you chance to turn your 
steps towards the two Bears to reach the temple of 
that God who is greatest of all, you find the wine- 

The tank is a cenactUum in the latter sense, but fishes gener- 
ally find the end of their career in a cenactUum of the other 



deliciis redolent iunctis apotheca penusque ; 

hie multus tu, frater, eris. 220 

" lam divide sedem, 
cessurus mihi fonte meo, quern monte fluentem 
umbrat multicavus spatioso circite fornix, 
non eget hie cultu, dedit huic natura decorem. 
nil fictum placuisse placet, non pompa per artem 
ulla, resiiltanti non comet malleus ictu 225 

saxa, nee exesiira supplebunt marmora tofum. 
hie fons Castaliae nobis vice sufficit undae. 
cetera dives habe ; colles tua iura tremiscant ; 
captivos hie solve tuos, et per iuga Burgi 
laeta relaxatae fiant vineta catenae." 230 

Confirmat vocem iamiam prope sobrius istam 
Silenus, pariterque chori cecinere faventes : 
" Nysa, vale Bromio, Phoebo, Parnase bivertex. 
non istum Naxus, non istum Cirrha requirat, 
sed mage perpetuo Burgus placitura petatur." 235 

5. Ecce, quotiens tibi libuerit pateris capacioribus 
hilarare convivium, misi quod inter scyphos et 
amystidas tuas legas. subveneris verecundiae meae, 
si in sobrias aures ista non venerint ; nee iniuria hoc 
ac secus atque aequum est flagito, quandoquidem 
Baccho meo iudicium decemvirale passuro tem- 
pestivius quam convenit tribunal erigitur. 6. si 

^ As Bacchibs is used in poetry for " wine," there is a 
double meaning here. 
^ i.e. Delphi. 



store and the larder fragrant with mingled delights. 
This place will see much of you, my brother.^ 

" Now agree upon a division of haunts : you shall 
leave to me my spring, which flows from the moun- 
tain, shadowed by an arched covering of ample 
circuit, much pitted. This needs no embellishment, 
for Nature has given it beauty. It seems good to 
me that there no counterfeiting should seem good; 
no artificial splendour there ; no hammer with re- 
echoing blow shall dress those stones, no marble 
workmanship take the place of the weather-worn 
tuff. That spring contents me instead of Castalia's 
fountain. All else you may have to enrich you : 
the hills may tremble before your power; here set 
your captives free, and may their loosened bonds 
become joyous vineyards all over the Castle's hilly 
slopes ! " 

Silenus, now all but sober, confirmed this utterance, 
and the bands of revellers likewise sang their approval : 
" Nysa, Bromius bids thee farewell; twin-crested 
Parnassus, Phoebus bids farewell to thee. Let 
Naxus no longer seek the one or Cirrha ^ the other, 
but rather let the Castle be our goal, to give delight 
for evermore." 

5. See, I have sent you something to read amid 
your bumpers and wassailings whenever you choose 
to cheer the feast with extra-large cups. You will 
save my blushes if these lines do not find their way 
to sober ears. This is not an unlawful or an in- 
equitable demand on my part, since the treatment I 
deprecate amounts to setting up a premature tribunal 
for my Bacchus, where he would be subjected to a 
judgment of decemviral severity. 6. Again, should 



quis autem carmen prolixius eatenus duxerit esse 
culpandum,quodepigrammatis excesserit paucitatem, 
istum liquido patet neque balneas Etrusci neque 
Herculem Surrentinum neque comas Flavii Earini 
neque Tibur Vopisci neque omnino quicquam de 
Papinii nostri silvulis lectitasse ; quas omnes de- 
scriptiones vir ille praeiudicatissimus non distichorum 
aut tetrastichorum stringit angustiis, sed potius, ut 
lyricus Flaccus in artis poeticae volumine praecipit, 
multis isdemque purpureis locorum communium 
pannis semel inchoatas materias decenter extendit. 
haec me ad defensionis exemplum posuisse sufficiat, 
ne haec ipsa longitudinis deprecatio longa videatur. 



Cum iam pro meritis tuis pararem, 
Consenti, columen decusque morura, 
vestrae laudibus hospitalitatis 
cantum im'pendere pauperis cicutae, 
ultro in carmina tu tubam recludens 5 

converso ordine versibus citasti 
suetum ludere sic magis sodalem. 
paret Musa tibi, sed impudentem 

^ These poems are numbered respectively I. 5, III. 1, III. 
4, and I. 3 in the Silvae of Statins. 

2 Hor. A. P. 15, purpureiis, late qui sphndeat, unus et 
alter adsuiiur pannus. 



anyone consider that such a lengthy poem deserves 
censure for going beyond the brevity of an epigram, 
it is perfectly clear that he has not been in the 
habit of reading the " Baths of Etruscus " or the 
" Hercules of Surrentum " or the " Locks of Flavins 
Earinus " or the " Tiburtine Home of Vopiscus,"^ 
or indeed anything from the little " Silvae " of our 
Statius ; for that man of most assured reputation 
does not cramp any of these descriptions within 
the narrow limits of two-lined or four-lined poems, 
but rather does what the lyric poet Horace enjoins 
in the " Art of Poetry " : once he has introduced 
his subject, he appropriately enlarges it by the re- 
peated use of stock "purple patches." ^ Let this 
suffice as a specimen of my self-defence, lest this 
justification of length should itself seem too long. 



Consentius,' pillar and ornament of manners, I 
was already preparing to devote the strains of 
my poor reed to the praises of your hospitality, 
as you well deserve, when you forestalled me and, 
reversing the order of things, brought out your 
trumpet and in verses challenged your old crony, 
who is more used to that kind of pastime, to produce 
a poem. Well, the Muse answers your call, but she 

' Consentius of Narbonne, to whom Epist. VIII. 4 is ad- 
dressed, is mentioned as a poet in Epist. IX. 15. 1, carm. 
22 sqq. The present poem cannot have been written before 
A.D. 462, when Theodoric II occupied Narbonne {w. 69-73), or 
after 466, when he was murdered. See Introd., p. Ivii. 



multo cautius hinc stilum movebit ; 

nam cum carmina postules diserte, 10 

suades scribere, sed facis tacere. 

nuper quadrupedante cum citato 

ires Phocida Sestiasque Baias, 

inlustres titulisque proeliisque 

urbes per duo consulum tropaea, 15 

(nam Martem tulit ista lulianum 

et Bruto duce nauticum furorem, 

ast haec Teutonicas cruenta pugnas, 

erectum et Marium cadente Cimbro), 

misisti mihi multiplex poema, 20 

doctum, nobile, forte, delicatum. 

ibant hexametri superbientes 

et vestigia iuncta, sed minora, 

per quinos elegi pedes ferebant ; 

misisti et, triplicis metrum trochaei 25 

spondeo comitante dactyloque, 

dulces hendecasyllabos, tuumque 

blando faenore Sollium ligasti. 

usuram petimurque reddimusque; 

nam quod carmine pro tuo rependo, 30 

hoc centesima laudium tuarum est. 

Quid primum venerer colamque pro te ? 
ni fallor, patriam patremque iuxta; 
qui quamquam sibi vindicare summum 
possit iure locum, tamen necesse est 35 

illam vincere quae parit parentes. 
salve, Narbo potens salubritate, 
urbe et rure simul bonus videri, 



will move her shameless pen much more cautiously 
on this account ; for in making such an eloquent 
demand for a song you urge one to write but con- 
strain one to be silent. Lately, when on galloping 
steed you were travelling to Phocis ^ and the Sestian 
Baiae, cities conspicuous in the records of the great 
and famed for battles through the trophies won by 
two consuls (for the first of these towns bore the brunt 
of Caesar's armed might and the frenzy of a navy 
under Brutus' ^ command, the other, bathed in 
blood, endured the Teuton fray, with Marius proudly 
standing as the Cimbrian fell), you sent me a manifold 
poem, skilful, striking, powerful, exquisite. Hexa- 
meters marched in their pride, and elegiacs advanced 
beside them, but with lesser steps that covered but 
five feet. You sent also graceful hendecasyllables, 
where spondee and dactyl accompany three trochees, 
and you have put your Sollius in a charming debt. 
Now I am asked for interest, and pay it ; what I am 
now disbursing in consideration of your poem is one 
per cent, of the praises due to you. 

To what must I first pay reverence and worship 
on account of you ? To your fatherland, methinks, 
and after that to your father. He might indeed 
justly claim the first place for himself, but the parent 
of parents must needs have precedence. Hail, 
Narbo, surpassing in thy healthiness, gladdening the 
eye with thy town and thy countryside alike, with thy 

^ Phocida = Massiliam (Marseilles), a colony of Phocaea, 
This confusion of Phocis and Phocaea is probably borrowed 
from Lucan (III. 340, V. 53), though it occurs elsewhere. The 
" Sestian Baiae " is Aquae Sextiae (Aix) founded by C. Sextius 
Calvinus in 122 b.c, and renowned for its warm springs. 

• i.e. Decimus Brutus. 



muris, civibus, ambitu, tabernis, 

portis, porticibus, foro, theatre, 40 

delubris, capitoliis, monetis, 

thermis, arcubus, horreis, macellis, 

pratis, fontibus, insulis, salinis, 

stagnis, flumine, merce, ponte, ponto; 

unus qui venerere iure divos 45 

Lenaeum, Cererem, Palem, Minervam 

spicis, palmite, pascuis, trapetis. 

solis fise viris nee expetito 

naturae auxilio procul relictis 

promens montibus altius cacumen, 50 

non te fossa patens nee hispidarum 

obiectu sudium coronat agger ; 

non tu marmora bratteam vitrumque, 

non testudinis Indicae nitorem, 

non si quas eboris trabes refractis 55 

rostris Marmarici dedere barri 

figis moenibus aureasque portas 

exornas asaroticis lapillis ; 

sed per semirutas superbus arces, 

ostendens veteris decus duelli, 60 

quassatos geris ictibus molares, 

laudandis pretiosior ruinis. 

sint urbes aliae situ minaces, 

quas vires humiles per alta condunt, 

et per praecipites locata cristas 65 

numquam moenia caesa glorientur : 

tu pulsate places fidemque fortem 

oppugnatio passa publicavit. 

Hinc te Martins ille rector atque 
magno patre prior, decus Getarum, 70 

Romanae columen salusque gentis, 
Theudoricus amat sibique fidum 



walls, citizens, circuit, shops, gates, porticoes, forum, 
theatre, shrines, capitol, mint, baths, arches, granaries, 
markets, meadows, fountains, islands, salt-mines, 
ponds, river, merchandise, bridge and brine; thou 
who hast the best title of all to worship as thy gods 
Bacchus, Ceres, Pales and Minerva in virtue of thy 
corn, thy vines, thy pastures, and thine olive-mills ! 
Thou hast put thy trust in thy men alone, and seeking 
no aid from Nature thou dost soar to heights that 
leave mountains far behind. No gaping fosse, no 
mound with its ban-ier of bristling stakes surrounds 
thee ; no marble workmanship, no gilding or glass, 
no shining Indian tortoiseshell, no bars of ivory 
broken off from the mouths of Marmaric elephants 
dost thou fix upon thy walls ; thou adornest no golden 
gates with mosaic; but proud among thy half- 
demolished strongholds thou dost display thy glory 
won in the old war, and though thy great stones 
have been battered down thou art prized more 
highly for those glorious ruins. ^ Let other cities 
menace by their sites — cities built on high by lowly 
powers; let walls set on precipitous ridges boast 
that they have never been felled ; as for thee, shat- 
tered as thou art thou dost win favour; the wide- 
spread fame of that assault hath made thy staunch 
loyalty renowned. 

Hence that martial ruler, the superior even of his 
great sire, glorious ornament of the Goths, pillar and 
saviour of the Roman race, Theodoric, loves thee, and 

* For the attack on Narbo by Theodoric I see n. on 7. 475. 
It is not certain that Theodoric II met with resistance when 
he occupied the town in a.d. 462. Sidonius seems here to 
attribute all the damage to "the old war." In Carm. 22 
epist. 1 he seems to imply recent fighting, but the reference 
may be merely to warUke preparations. 



adversos probat ante per tumultus. 

sed non hinc videare forte turpis, 

quod te machina crebra perforavit ; 75 

namque in corpore fortium virorum 

laus est amplior amplior cicatrix. 

in castris Marathoniis merentem 

vulnus non habuisse grande probrum est; 

inter Publicolas manu feroces 80 

trunco Mucins eniinet lacerto; 

vallum Caesaris opprimente Magno 

inter tot facies ab hoste tutas 

luscus Scaeva fuit magis decorus. 

laus est ardua dura sustinere ; 85 

ignavis, timidis et improbatis 

multum fingitur otiosa virtus. 

Quid quod Caesaribus ferax creandis, 
felix prole virum, simul dedisti 

natos cum genitore principantes ? 90 

nam quis Persidis expeditionem 
aut victricia castra praeteribit 
Cari principis et perambulatum 
Romanis legionibus Niphaten, 

tum cum fulmine captus imperator 95 

vitam fulminibus parem peregit? 

His tu civibus, urbe, rure pollens 
Consenti mihi gignis alme patrem, 

^ After the fighting at Dyrrhachium it was found that the 
shield of Caesar's centurion, Scaeva, was pierced in 120 
places (Caes. B.C. III. 53. 4). Lucan devotes a long passage 
(VI. 140-262) to his extraordinary feats. 



from thy fierce resistance of yore he gains assurance 
of thy present loyalty. And thou canst not be con- 
sidered unsightly because many an engine of war 
hath pierced thee, for on the body of the brave the 
greater the scar, the greater the honour. In the 
campaign of Marathon it was a sore disgrace for a 
soldier to have had no wound. Amid the Publicolae 
with their bold hands Mucius with his maimed arm 
shone conspicuous. When Magnus was over- 
whelming Caesar's rampart, then amid a multitude 
of faces unharmed by the enemy Scaeva^ with one 
eye lost was comelier than all. Hard to win is the 
glory of enduring adversity ; it is the indolent, the 
coward and the dastard that are wont to feign prowess 
without toil. 

Nor is this all. Fruitful mother of Caesars and 
blest in an offspring of heroes, thou didst give us at 
one time father and sons ^ holding imperial sway 
together. Who shall leave unmentioned the cam- 
paign against Persia or the victorious warfare of 
Carus our prince and the marching of Roman legions 
over Niphates at that time when the Emperor was 
overwhelmed by lightning and a life that was itself 
like lightning met its end ? 

Strong in such citizens and in thy city and thy 
countryside, thou didst graciously bless me by 
bringing to life the father of Consentius, a man in 

* Referring to the Emperor Carus (a.d. 282 -283) and his 
sons Carinus and Numerianus, who were associated with him 
as Caesars and succeeded him as joint rulers (283-4). Carus 
seems to have been born not at Narbo (Narbonne) but at 
Narbona, or rather Narona, in Illyria. The cause of his death 
on his Persian expedition may have been assassination, not 



ilium cui nitidi sales rigorque 

Romanus fait Attico in lepore. 100 

hunc Miletius et Thales stupere 

auditum potuit simulque Lindi est 

notus qui Cleobulus inter arces, 

et tu qui, Periandre, de Corintho es, 

et tu quern dederat, Bias, Priene, 105 

et tu, Pittace, Lesbius sophistes, 

et tu qui tetricis potens Athenis 

vincis Socraticas, Solon, palaestras, 

et tu, Tyndareis satus Therapnis, 

Chilon, legifero prior Lycurgo. 110 

non hie, si voluit vacant e cura 

quis sit sideribus notare cursus, 

diversas Arato \1as cucurrit; 

non hunc, cum geometricas ad artes 

mentem composuit, sequi valebat 115 

Euclides spatium sciens Olympi ; 

non hunc, si voluit rotare rhythmos, 

quicquam proposito virum morari 

Chrysippus potuisset ex acervo. 

hie cum Amphioniae studebat arti 120 

plectro, poUice, voce tibiaque, 

Thrax vates, deus Areas atque Phoebus 

omni carmine post erant et ipsas 

Musas non ita musicas putares. 

hie si syrmate cultus et cothurno 125 

intrasset semel Atticum theatrum, 

cessissent Sophocles et Euripides; 

^ The meaning is that Chrysippus, who solved, or rather 
dismissed, the problem of the Sorites by arbitrarily choosing 
a stopping-place, could not have interrupted periods which 
were so skilfully constructed and rounded off that no break 



whom sparkling wit and Roman sternness were 
set amid Attic elegance. Hearing him Milesian 
Thales might well have been amazed, and Cleobulus 
too, renowned among the eminences of Lindus, and 
Periander of Corinth, and Bias, whom Priene gave 
to the world, and Pittacus, the Lesbian master of 
wisdom, and Solon, who ruled grave Athens and 
surpassed the school of Socrates, and Chilon, scion of 
Tyndarean Therapnae, a man to be esteemed before 
Lycurgus the law-giver. This sage of ours, when in 
times of leisure he chose to mark the courses of the 
stars, did not stray from the paths that Aratus trod. 
When he set his mind on the lore of geometry, 
Euclid, who knew the measure of the heavens, could 
not have followed him. When he chose to build 
rhythmical periods, Chrysippus could not have 
treated them like the Sorites and hindered him 
from completing each scheme.^ When he devoted 
himself to the art of Amphion with quill, thumb, 
voice and flute, the Thracian bard, the Arcadian god 
and Phoebus lagged behind him in every kind of 
song, and the very Muses might be deemed less 
musical. If clad in long cloak and buskin he had 
once entered the Athenian theatre, Sophocles and 
Euripides would have given way before him; if 

could be made in the middle of them. The word acervus 
(corresponding to Greek acopos, from which comes aajpii-nis) is 
used also by Cicero, Ac. II. 49, and Horace, Epist. II. 1. 
47, in connexion with the fallacy of the Sorites; see Reid 
and Wilkins respectively on the passages just cited. The 
Sorites took various forms; the simplest form is repre- 
sented by the question ' ' How many grains make a heap ? 
Does one?" The answerer would then be led on to add one, 
then another one, and so on, and the process would end in 
his discomfiture. 



aut si pulpita personare socco 

comoedus voluisset, huic levato 

palmam tu digito dares, Menander. 130 

hie eum senipedem stilum polibat 

Zmyrnaeae viee doetus offieinae 

aut eum se historiae dabat severae, 

primos vix poterant locos tueri 

torrens Herodotus, tonans Homerus. 135 

non isto potior fuisset, olim 

qui Pandioniam movebat arte 

orator caveam tumultuosus, 

seu luseum raperetur in Philippum, 

eausam seu Ctesiphontis actitaret, 140 

vir semper popularitate crescens 

et iuste residens in arce fandi, 

qui fabro genitore procreatus 

oris maluit expolire limam. 

quid vos eloquii canam Latini, 145 

Arpinas, Patavine, Mantuane, 

et te, comica qui doces, Terenti, 

et te, tempore qui satus severo 

Graios, Plaute, sales lepore transis, 

et te multimoda satis verendum 15C 

scriptorum numerositate, Varro, 

et te, qui brevitate, Crispe, polles, 

et qui pro ingenio fluente nulli, 

Corneli Tacite, es tacendus ori, 

et te Massiliensium per hortos 155 

sacri stipitis, Arbiter, colonum 

132. vice C, incude F, cute ceteri. Vid. Class, Quart,, loc. 
cit. pp. 21 sq. 

135. terrens codd. 

1 Cf. 2. 185; 9. 148. 


again he had chosen to write comedies and make the 
stage resound with the sock, Menander would have 
lifted an appealing finger and yielded him the palm. 
When he skilfully embellished the six-footed style 
after the manner of Smyrna's school,^ or when he 
devoted himself to austere history, Homer with his 
thunder and Herodotus with his rushing flow were 
scarcely able to keep the first place. Not above 
him would that stormy orator have been ranked who 
in olden times was wont to sway the theatre in 
Pandion's to\STi by his art, whether he launched 
himself against the one-eyed Philip or pled insistently 
the cause of Ctesiphon, — a man ever advancing in 
favour and justly placed on the topmost pinnacle 
of oratory, a smith's son who preferred to sharpen his 
tongue to a fine edge.^ Why should I sing of the 
masters of Latin utterance,^ the man of Arpinum, 
the man of Padua, the bard of Mantua, Terence, 
producer of comedies, Plautus, who though born in a 
serious age surpasses by his brightness the ^vit of the 
Greeks ; Varro, too, right worshipful for the many- 
sided multitudinousness of his books, Crispus, master 
of bre\dty, Cornelius Tacitus, whom by reason of his 
fertile genius no tongue must tacitly ignore, Arbiter,* 
whose Gardens of Massilia make him the peer of the 

» 2. 187 sq. n. 

' With this descriptive catalogue of Latin writers cf. 2. 

* Referring to Petronius Arbiter. The extaiit remains of his 
Saiyricon do not enable ns to explain hortos Massil., though 
there is evidence that Massilia was mentioned in that work. 
The hero, Encolpius, is dogged by the wrath of Priapus, who 
was worshipped especially at Lampsacus, on the Hellespont 
(cf. 9. 174). The " sacred tree-stock " refers to the rude 
wooden images of Priapus. For a fuller discussion see Class. 
Quart.f loc. cit. p. 22. 



Hellespontiaco parem Priapi, 

et te carmina per libidinosa 

notum, Naso tener, Tomosque missum, 

quondam Caesareae nimis puellae 160 

ficto nomine subditum Corinnae? 

quid celsos Senecas loquar vel ilium 

quem dat Bilbilis alta Martialem, 

terrarum indigenas Hibericarum? 

quid quos duplicibus iugata taedis 165 

Argentaria Polla dat poetas ? 

quid multos varii stili retexam? 

arguti, teneri, graves, dicaces, 

si Consentius adfuit, latebant. 

Huic summi ingenii viro simulque 170 

summae nobilitatis atque formae 
iuncta est femina quae domum ad mariti 
prisci insignia transferens lovini 
implevit trabeis larem sophistae. 
sic intra proprios tibi penates, 175 

Consenti, patriae decus superbum, 
fastis vivit avus paterque libris. 

Haec per stemmata te satis potentem, 
morum culmine sed potentiorem, 
non possim merita sonare laude, 180 

nee si me Odrysio canens in antro, 
qua late trepidantibus fluentis 
cautes per Ciconum resultat Hebrus, 
princeps instituisset ille vatum, 
cum dulces animata saxa chordae 185 

157. Priapi ego : Priapo. Vid. Class. QtuirL, loc. cit. p. 22. 
166. pallidat codd. 

1 There is no ground for this identification of Ovid's Corinna 
with Julia, daughter of Augustus, or for the suggestion that 
his relations with Julia were the cause of his banishment. 


dweller of the Hellespont as worshipper of the sacred 
tree-stock, Priapus; and languishing Ovid, famed 
for his lascivious poems and banished to Tomi, too 
much erstwhile the slave of Caesar's daughter, whom 
he called by the feigned name of Corinna ? ^ Why 
cite the great Senecas, or Martial, given to the world 
by lofty Bilbilis — all natives of Spanish lands ? Why 
speak of the poets whom Argentaria PoUa, twice 
yoked in wedlock, presents to us ? ^ Why rehearse 
the names of many masters of divers styles ? Tune- 
ful, melting, grave or witty, if Consentius appeared 
they shrank into obscurity. 

To this man supreme ahke in genius, nobility, 
and comeliness, was linked a lady who brought to her 
husband's home the trappings of honour worn by 
Jovinus of old and filled the dwelling of a scholar 
with robes of state.^ Thus within your walls, Con- 
sentius, proud glory of your country, your grand- 
father still lives on by the lustre of his dignities and 
your father by his books. 

* Mighty as you are through this lineage, and yet 
mightier by your lofty character, I could not sound 
your praises worthily even if the great father of 
bards, singing in Odrysian cave where Hebrus with 
his bustling waters re-echoes among the rocks of the 
Ciconians, had taught me, while the sweet strings 
by the power of their music drew the animated stones 

' Lucan and presumably Statius ; but the ide& that Lucan's 
widow married Statius has no foundation. 

' The elder Consentius had married a daughter of the usurper 
Jovinus (411-413). 

* With the passage which follows compare 2. 69-74. This 
is the seventh mention of Orpheus in these poems, and there 
are nearly as many in the Epistles. 



ferrent per Rhodopen trahente cantu 

et versa vice fontibus ligatis 

terras currere cogerent anhelas, 

nee non Hismara solibus paterent 

aurita chelyn expetente silva 190 

et nulli resolubiles calori 

curvata ruerent nives ab Ossa, 

stantem aut Strymona Bistones viderent, 

cum carmen rapidus latex sitiret ; 

nee si Peliaco datus bimembri 195 

ad Centaurica plectra constitissem, 

hinnitum duplicis timens magistri ; 

nee si me docuisset ille fari, 

iussus pascere qui gregem est clientis 

Amphrysi ad fluvium deus bubulcus, 200 

quod ferrugineos Cyclopas arcu 

stravit sub Liparensibus caminis 

\ibrans plus grave fulmen in sagitta. 

lam primo tenero calentem ab ortu 
excepere sinu novem sorores, 205 

et te de genetrice vagientem 
tinxerunt vitrei vado Hippocrenes : 
tunc, hac mersus aqua, loquacis undae 
pro fluctu mage litteras bibisti. 

hinc tu iam puer aptior magistro 210 

quidquid rhetoricae institutionis, 
quidquid grammaticalis aut palaestrae est, 
sicut iam tener hauseras, vorasti. 
et lam te aula tulit piusque princeps 
inter conspicuous statim locavit, 215 

consistoria quos habent, tribunes; 

207. texerunt codd. ; vitrei CPF : vitreae T ; rf. 9. 285. 
210. hinc Luefjohann : tunc. 



adown the slopes of Rliodope and, reversing the 
order of things, bound rivers fast and forced the land 
to rush panting along, and Mount Ismarus was laid 
bare to the sun, as the trees, all ears, hied them 
towards the lyre, and the snows that no heat could 
melt fell headlong down from bowing Ossa, and the 
Bistones saw Strymon standing still, its rushing waters 
athirst for song; nay, not if I had been given in 
charge to the twy-formed denizen of Pelion ^ and 
had taken my place by the Centaur's lyre, dreading 
the neigh of my double-bodied teacher; nor if I 
had been taught to give utterance by him who was 
commanded to feed the flock of his servant by the 
river Amphrysus,^ a god turned herdsman because 
with his bow he laid prostrate the grimy Cyclopes 
down among the furnaces of Lipara, launching in 
his arrow a bolt more crushing than theirs. 

The moment that your warm infant form saw the 
hght, the nine Sisters welcomed you to their arms, 
and they took you, a wailing babe, from your mother 
and dipped you in the crystal pool of Hippocrene. 
At that moment, when they steeped you in the fount, 
it was no mere flow of prattling water that you 
drank, but rather the lore of letters. Hence when 
you had grown to boyhood and were more fitted for 
a teacher's care ^ you devoured all the course of 
rhetoric and of the grammarian's school even as you 
imbibed it in infancy. Next the Court claimed you 
and the good Emperor straightway set you among 
the honourable tribunes of his Consistory * ; and the 

* Chiron. * Apollo. 

' Or perhaps " more capable than your teacher " (so the 
Thes. Ling. Lot.). 

* He was tribunns et notarius under Valentinian III. On 
this oflRce see C. M. H., I. 38. 



iamque et purpureus in arce regni 

praeesse officiis tuis solebat, 

mores nobilitate quod merebant: 

tantum culminis et decus stupendum 220 

script! annalibus indicant honores. 

hinc tu militiam secutus amplam, 

castrensem licet ampliare censum 

per sufFragia iusta debuisses, 

sollcmnis tamen abstinens lucelli 225 

fama plus locuples domum redisti 

solum quod dederas tuum putando. 

turn si forte fuit quod imperator 

Eoas soceri venire in aures 

fido interprete vellet et perito, 230 

te commercia duplicis loquelae 

doctum solvere protinus legebat. 

o, sodes, quotiens tibi loquenti 

Byzantina sophos dedere regna, 

et te seu Latialiter sonantem 235 

tamquam Romulea satum Subura, 

seu linguae Argolicae rotunditate 

undantem Marathone ceu creatura 

plaudentes stupuere Bosphorani, 

mirati minus Atticos alumnos ! 240 

hinc si foedera solverentur orbis, 

pacem te medio darent feroces 

Chunus, Sauromates, Getes, Gelonus; 

tu Tuncrum et Vachalim, Visurgin, Albin, 

Francorum et penitissimas paludes 245 

intrares venerantibus Sygambris 

solis moribus inter arma tutus, 

^ Theodosius II, whose daughter Eudoxia was married 
to Valentinian III. 

* Stein (I. 547, n. 2) remarks that the choice of so young 
an official for this importatit duty indicates that a good 


wearer of the purple himself in the citadel of the 
Empire was wont to preside over your boards — an 
honour which your noble virtue well deserved. This 
great eminence and wondrous glory stands recorded 
in the yearly roll of public dignities. Thereupon 
you undertook a duty of wide power, and although you 
might well have enlarged your service-pay by the 
law-ful bestowal of your good offices, you held aloof 
from that common pursuit of paltry gain, and you 
returned home made richer in reputation by deeming 
as yours only what you had given away. At that 
time if there chanced to be aught that the Emperor 
wished to be brought to the ears of the Empress's 
father in the East ^ through an interpreter both 
honest and skilled, he would straightway choose you 
as one well-instructed to hold intercourse in the two 
tongues. 2 O how often — let me say it — how often 
did the Byzantine realm give you a " bravo ! " as you 
spoke! How often did the dwellers by the 
Bosphorus applaud and marvel at you, both when 
you uttered the Latin speech like one born in the 
Roman Subura and when you poured forth the 
finished elegance of the Greek tongue like a son of 
Marathon, so that they admired the natives of 
Athens less ! Thus if the world's treaties had been 
dissolved, your mediation would have made fierce 
peoples, the Hun, the Sarmatian, the Goth, the 
Gelonian, offer peace ; safe in the midst of arms through 
your sheer goodness you would have penetrated even 
to the Tungrian and the Vachalis, the Visurgis, the 
Albis, and the remotest fens of the Franks, and the 
Sygambrians would have done you reverence ; the 

knowledge of Greek was now rare among the governing class 
in the western Empire. This is probably true, though we 
read of some other cases where duties of very high responsi- 
bility were entrusted to one of the tribuni et notarii. 



tu Maeotida Caspiasque portas, 

tu fluxis equitata Bactra Parthis 

constans intrepidusque sic adires 250 

ut fastu posito tumentis aulae 

qui supra satrapas sedet tyrannus 

ructans semideum propinquitates 

lunatam tibi flecteret tiaram. 

tu si publica fata non vetarent 255 

ut Byrsam peteres vel Africanae 

telluris Tanaiticum rebellem, 

confestim posito furore Martis 

post piratica damna destinaret 

plenas niercibus institor carinas, 260 

et per te bene pace restituta 

non ultra mihi bella navigarent. 

lam si seria forte terminantem 
te spectacula ceperant theatri, 

pallebat chorus omnis histrionum 265 

tamquam si Arcitenens novemque Musae 
propter pulpita iudices sederent. 
coram te Caramallus aut Phabaton 
clausis faucibus et loquente gestu 
nutu, crure, genu, manu, rotatu 270 

toto in schemate vel semel latebit, 
sive Aeetias et suus lason 
inducuntur ibi ferusque Phasis, 
qui iactos super arva Colcha dentes 
expavit, fruticante cum duello 275 

spicis spicula mixta fluctuarent; 
sive prandia quis refert Thyestae 
seu vestros, Philomela torva, planctus, 
discerptum aut puerum cibumque factum 
iamiam coniugis innocentioris ; 280 

256. ut: etc. 


Maeotid mere and the Caspian gates and Bactra, 
where the roving Parthians ride, you would have 
approached so resolute and fearless that the tyrant 
who sits enthroned above his satraps mouthing boasts 
of his kinship with demigods would have laid aside 
the arrogance of his pompous court and bowed his 
crescent ^ tiara before you. Had the fortunes of 
Rome allowed you to seek Byrsa and the rebel from 
the Tanais ^ in Afric's land, the frenzy of war would 
straightway have been laid aside, and the trader, 
after all his losses at the hands of pirates, would 
have begun to dispatch ships laden with merchandise ; 
and thus, peace being firmly restored through you, 
I should no longer have been troubled with wars 
afloat on the seas. 

And when you chanced to put aside serious 
concerns and were attracted by the shows of the 
theatre, the whole company of actors would grow 
pale, as if the god of the bow and the nine Muses 
were sitting as judges beside the stage. ^ In your 
presence a Caramallus or a Phabaton, with his closed 
lips and his action that speaks through nod, leg, knee, 
hand, and spin, will for once be unnoticed all through 
his piece, whether the daughter of Aeetes and her 
Jason are being shown, with the barbarous Phasis,that 
was affrighted at the teeth thrown upon the Colchian 
field, when a martial host sprouted up amid a surging 
mass of corn-spikes and spear-heads commingled: 
or whether the feast of Thyestes is represented or the 
lamentations of the wild-eyed Philomela or the dis- 
membered boy given as food to the husband who 
thus at the last became the more innocent of the two : 

» Cf. 2. 51 n. 2 Geiseric. 

' The following passage refers to performances of pantomimi. 



seu raptus Tyrios lovemque taiirum 

spreto fulmine fronte plus timendum; 

seu turris Danaae refertur illic, 

cum multum pluvio rigata censu est, 

dans plus aurea furta quam metalla ; 285 

seu Ledam quis agit Phrygemque ephebura 

aptans ad cyathos facit Tonanti 

suco nectaris esse dulciorem ; 

seu Martem simulat modo in catenas 

missum Lemniacas, modo aut repulso 290 

formam imponit apri caputque saetis 

et tergum asperat hispidisque malis 

leve incurvat ebur, vel ille fingit 

hirtam dorsa feram repanda tela 

attritu adsiduo cacuminantem ; 295 

seu Perseia virgo vindicata 

illic luditur harpe coniugali, 

seu quod carminis atque fabularum 

clausa ad Pergama dat bilustre bellum. 

quid dicam citharistrias, choraulas, 300 

mimos, schoenobatas, gelasianos 

cannas, plectra, iocos, palen, rudentem 

coram te trepidanter explicare ? 

nam circensibus ipse quanta ludis 

victor gesseris intonante Roma 305 

lactam par fuit exarare Musam. 

lanus forte suas bifrons Kalendas 
anni tempora circinante Phoebo 
sumendas referebat ad curules. 

mos est Caesaris hie, die bis uno 310 

(privates vocitant) parare ludos. 

^ According to one version of the legend Mars in his jealousy 
changed himself into a wild boar and slew Adonis. 



or whether it is the Tyrian ravishment and Jove 
turned bull, with his chief menace in his brow, for 
he has flung the thunderbolt aside : or whether the 
scene is the tower of Danae, when it was drenched 
with a shower of riches and conferred secret joys 
more golden than the metal : or whether one plays 
Leda, or by setting the Phrygian youth to serve 
the wine-cups makes him sweeter to Jove than 
the nectar-juice : or whether one counterfeits Mars 
put in Lemnian chains or again invests him, a 
lover rejected, with a wild boar's ^ form, roughen- 
ing his head and back with bristles, curving the 
smooth ivory upward from his shaggy jaws, and 
the hairy-backed monster is shown sharpening his 
up-bent weapons by diligent rubbing : or whether 
Perseus' maid rescued by her lover's falchion is 
represented, or such song and story as the ten years* 
war at beleaguered Pergamum aifords. Why should 
I tell how the harpists, flute-players, mimes, rope- 
walkers and clowTis quail as they display before you 
their reeds, quills, jests, bouts, and ropes ? Nay, it was 
rather the duty of my Muse to record with joy your 
own great exploits when you were conqueror at the 
circensian games amid the thunderous plaudits of 
Rome. 2 

Phoebus was beginning a new yearly circle, and 
two-faced Janus was bringing back his Calends, the 
day when the new magistrates take their seats. It 
is Caesar's custom to provide games (called " private ") 

* " Rome " must not be taken literally : these games were 
held at Ravenna, where Valentinian III resided. The de- 
scription which follows, though by no means without origin- 
ality, is considerably influenced by Statins, Theb. VI. 389 sqq., 
which describes the chariot-race held at Nemea by the seven 
chieftains on their way to Thebes. 


tunc coetus iuvenum, sed aulicorum, 

Elei simulacra torva cainpi 

exercet spatiantibus quadrigis. 

et iam te urna petit cietque raucae 315 

acclamatio sibilans coronae ; 

turn qua est ianua consulumque sedes, 

ambit quam paries utrimque senis 

cryptis carceribusque fornicatus, 

uno e quattuor axe sorte lecto 320 

curvas ingrederis premens habenas. 

id collega tuus simulque vobis 

pars adversa facit ; micant color es, 

albus vel venetus, virens rubensque, 

vestra insignia, continent ministri 325 

ora et lora manus iubasque tortas 

cogunt flexilibus latere nodis 

hortanturque obiter iuvantque blandis 

ultro plausibus et voluptuosum 

dictant quadrupedantibus furorem. 330 

illi ad claustra fremunt repagulisque 

incumbunt simul ac per obseratas 

transfumant tabulas et ante cursum 

campus flatibus occupatur absens. 

impellunt, trepidant, trahunt, repugnant, 335 

ardescunt, saliunt, timent, timentur, 

nee gressum cohibent, sed inquieto 

duratum pede stipitem flagellant. 

tandem murmure bucinae strepentis 

320. sorte e^o: forte. 321. {reraens codd. 

^ i.e. of the Olympic games. 

2 urna. The lot assigned to each competitor a particular 
career, and hence, on this and similar occasions, a particular 
chariot, as the chariots and teams were supplied by the 
Emperor, and were already in their respective carceres {v. 331). 



twice in that one day. Then a company of young 
men, all of the Court, goes through a grim mimicry 
of the field of Elis ^ with four-horse chariots racing 
over the course. Now the urn ^ demanded you and 
the whistling cheers of the hoarse onlookers sum- 
moned you. Thereupon, in the part where the door 
is and the seat of the consuls, round which there 
runs a wall with six vaulted chambers on each side, 
wherein are the starting-pens, you chose one of the 
four chariots by lot and mounted it, laying a tight 
grip on the hanging reins. Your partner ^ did the 
same, so did the opposing side. Brightly gleam the 
colours, white and blue, green and red, your several 
badges. Servants' hands hold mouth and reins and 
with knotted cords force the twisted manes to hide 
themselves, and all the while they incite the steeds, 
eagerly cheering them with encouraging pats and in- 
stilling a rapturous frenzy. There behind the barriers 
chafe those beasts, pressing against the fastenings, 
while a vapoury blast comes forth between the wooden 
bars and even before the race the field they have 
not yet entered is filled with their panting breath. 
They push, they bustle, they drag, they struggle, 
they rage, they jump, they fear and are feared; 
never are their feet still, but restlessly they lash the 
hardened timber. At last the herald with loud blare 

• Cf. 362. The four competitors were paired off, and each 
competitor endeavoured to bring victory to his side by fair 
means or by means which in modem times woiild be considered 
foul. The " colleague " of Consentius apparently tries to force 
the pace and fluster his opponents in order to leave a clear 
field for his partner, who conserves the energies of his team 
tmtil the time comes to make a spurt for victory. In the last 
lap one of the opposing side tries to help his partner t>y an 
^egious foul, with disastrous results. 



suspensas tubicen vocans quadrigas 340 

effundit celeres in ai'va currus. 

non sic fulminis impetus trisulci, 

non pulsa Scythico sagitta nervo, 

non sulcus rapide cadentis astri, 

non fundis Balearibus rotata 345 

umquam sic liquidos poli meatus 

rupit plumbea glandium procella. 

cedit terra rotis et orbitarum 

moto pulvere sordidatur aer ; 

instant verberibus simul regent es, 350 

iamque et pectora prona de covinno 

extensi rapiuntur et iugales 

trans armos feriunt vacante tergo, 

nee cernas cito, cernuos magistros 

temones mage sufferant an axes. 355 

iam vos ex oculis velut volantes 

consumpto spatio patentiore 

campus clauserat artus arte factus. 

per quem longam, humilem duplamque muro 

euripus sibi machinam tetendit. 360 

ut meta ulterior remisit omnes, 

fit collega tuus prior duobus, 

qui te transierant ; ita ipse quartus 

gyri condicione tum fuisti. 

curae est id mediis, ut ille primus, 365 

^ It was usual to start the race from a white line made on 
the course itself ; but on this occasion the start is made from 
the carceres. This seems to have been the older method. 

2 Euripus is applied to a canal or large tank. In some 
circuses the long central barrier {spina) was filled with water. 
In earUer times euripus was applied to the moat which Julius 
Caesar built round the interior of the Circus Maximus to 
protect the spectators when wild beasts were exhibited. This 
was filled up by Nero. 


of trumpet calls forth the impatient teams and 
launches the fleet chariots into the field. ^ The 
swoop of forked lightning, the arrow sped by Scythian 
string, the trail of the swiftly-falling star, the leaden 
hurricane of bullets whirled from Balearic slings has 
never so rapidly split the airy paths of the sky. 
The ground gives way under the wheels and the air 
is smirched with the dust that rises in their track. 
The drivers, while they vneld the reins, ply the lash ; 
now they stretch forward over the chariots with 
stooping breasts, and so they sweep along, striking 
the horses' withers and leaving their backs un- 
touched. With charioteers so prone it would puzzle 
you to pronounce whether they were more supported 
by the pole or by the wheels. Now as if flying out 
of sight on wings, you had traversed the more open 
part, and you were hemmed in by the space that is 
cramped by craft, amid which the central barrier 
has extended its long low double-walled structure.^ 
When the farther turning-post freed you all from 
restraint once more, your partner went ahead of the 
two others, who had passed you ; so then, according to 
the law of the circling course, you had to take the 
fourth track.3 The drivers in the middle were intent 

• The races were run counter-clockwise; thus the com- 
petitors had the spectators on their right and the spina on 
their left. The coveted position was the inside one, i.e. the 
one nearest to the spina, which gave the shortest course. 
On this occasion Consentius' partner has the inside position 
and Consentius the next. The two opponents get so far 
ahead of Consentius that they are entitled to move inward in 
front of him, and he has to change over to the outside position 
(363 sq.). Having gained this advantage, the two opponents 
hope that the horses of Consentius' partner will swerve out- 
ward far enough to allow one of his enemies to dash in and 


pressus dexteriore concitatu 

partem si patefecerit sinistram 

totas ad podium ferens habenas, 

curru praetereatur intiis acto. 

tu conamine duplicatus ipso 370 

stringis quadriiugos et arte summa 

in gyrum bene septimum reservas ; 

instabant alii manu atque voce, 

passim et deciduis in arva guttis 

rectorum alipediimque sudor ibat. 375 

raucus corda ferit fragor faventum 

atque ipsis pariter viris equisque 

fit cursu calor et timore frigus. 

itur sic semel, itur et secundo, 

est sic tertius atque quartus orbis ; 380 

quinto circite non valens sequentum 

pondus ferre prior retorquet axem, 

quod velocibus imperans quadrigis 

exhaustos sibi senserat iugales; 

iam sexto reditu perexplicato 385 

iamque et praemia flagitante vulgo 

pars contraria nil timens tuam vim 

securas prior orbitas terebat, 

tensis cum subito simul lupatis, 

tensis pectoribus, pede ante fixo, 390 

quantum auriga suos solebat ille 

raptans Oenomaum tremente Pisa, 

tantum tu rapidos teris iugales. 

hie compendia flexuosa metae 

389. simul ego : sinum. Vid. Class. Quart., loc. cit. pp. 22 sq. 

seize the inside position (365-369). In the fifth lap Consentius' 
partner has to withdraw; thus the opponents secure the two 
iinier tracks. Consentius, acting on the traditional principle 



that if haply the first man, embarrassed by a dash of 
his steeds too much to the right, should leave a space 
open on the left by heading for the surrounding seats, 
he should be passed by a chariot driven in on the near 
side. As for you, bending double with the very force 
of the effort you keep a tight rein on your team and 
with consummate skill wisely reserve them for the 
seventh lap. The others are busy with hand and 
voice, and everywhere the sweat of drivers and flying 
steeds falls in drops on to the field. The hoarse roar 
from applauding partisans stirs the heart, and the 
contestants, both horses and men, are warmed by 
the race and chilled by fear. Thus they go once 
round, then a second time ; thus goes the third lap, 
thus the fourth; but in the fifth turn the foremost 
man, unable to bear the pressure of his pursuers, 
swerved his car aside, for he had found, as he gave 
conmiand to his fleet team, that their strength was 
exhausted. Now the return half of the sixth course 
was completed and the crowd was already clamouring 
for the award of the prizes ; your adversaries, with 
no fear of any effort from you, were scouring the 
track in front with never a care, when suddenly you 
tautened the curbs all together, tautened your chest, 
planted your feet firmly in front, and chafed the 
mouths of your swift steeds as fiercely as was the 
wont of that famed charioteer of old when he swept 
Oenomaus ^ along with him and all Pisa trembled. 
Hereupon one of the others, clinging to the shortest 

that all's fair in the circus, rushes up as close as possible to 
the inside car as it passes the turning-post, and succeeds in 
exciting the horses, so that they plunge wildly and take a 
crooked course, Consentius watches his opportunity, gains 
the inside position, and dashes ahead (394-399). 
1 Cf. 2. 490 sqq. 

VOL, I. N 


unus dum premit, incitatus a te 395 

elatas semel impetu quadrigas 

iiincto non valuit plicare gyro; 

quern tu, quod sine lege praeteriret, 

transisti remanens, ab arte restans. 

alter dum popularitate gaudet, 400 

dexter sub cuneis nlmis cucurrit. 

hunc, dum obliquat iter diuque lentus 

sero cornipedes citat flagello, 

tortum tramite transis ipse recto. 

hie te ineautius assecutus hostis 405 

sperans anticipasse iam priorem 

transversum venit impudens in axem; 

ineurvantur equi, proterva crurum 

intrat turba rotas quaterque terni 

artantur radii, repleta donee 410 

intervalla crepent volubilisque 

frangat margo pedes ; ibi ipse quintus 

curru praecipitatus obruente 

montem multiplici facit ruina, 

turpans prociduam cruore frontem. 415 

miscet cuncta fragor resuscitatus, 

quantum non cyparissifer Lycaeus, 

quantum non nemorosa tollit Ossa 

crebras inrequieta per procellas, 

quantum nee reboant volutae ab Austro 420 

Doris Trinacris aut voraginoso 

^ i.e. the first-mentioned of the two opponents of Consentius, 
the one whom Consentius had first passed. 

2 This man's attention had been distracted {vv. 400-404) 
and, seeing Consentius pass him on the inside, he assumed 
that his own partner, who had occupied that position a moment 
before, had gone ahead. He then attempted to simplify 
that partner's path to victory by fouling Consentius' wheel 



route round the turning-post, was hustled by you, 
and his team, carried away beyond control by their 
onward rush, could no more be wheeled round in a 
harmonious course. As you saw him pass before 
you in disorder, you got ahead of him by remaining 
where you were, cunningly reining up. The other 
adversary, exulting in the public plaudits, ran too 
far to the right, close to the spectators ; then as he 
turned aslant and all too late after long indifference 
urged his horses with the whip, you sped straight 
past your swerving rival. Then the enemy in reckless 
haste overtook you and, fondly thinking that the 
first man ^ had already gone ahead, shamelessly 
made for your wheel with a sidelong dash. 2 His 
horses were brought down, a multitude of intruding 
legs entered the wheels, and the twelve spokes were 
crowded, until a crackle came from those crammed 
spaces and the revolving rim shattered the entangled 
feet ; then he, a fifth ^ victim, flung from his chariot, 
which fell upon him, caused a mountain of manifold 
havoc, and blood disfigured his prostrate brow. 
Thereupon arose a riot of renewed shouting such as 
neither Lycaeus with its cypresses ever raises, nor 
the forests of Ossa, troubled though they be by 
many a hurricane ; such echoing roar as not even 
the SiciUan sea, rolled onward in billows by the south 
wind, gives forth, nor Propontis, whose wild deeps 

Venit (407) does not mean "dashed against"; Consentius' 
car could not have won after such an impact. How the blow 
was eluded and how the horses were brought down we are not 
told expUcitly; indeed the end of the description is so vague 
that I long understood it to mean that one of the men inad- 
vertently fouled his partner's car; but several things seem to 
rule out this interpretation. 

» " a fifth," the other four being the horses. 



quae vallat sale Bosphorum Propontis. 

hie mox praecipit aequus imperator 

palmis serica, torquibus coronas 

coniungi et meritum remunerari, 425 

victis ire iubens satis pudendis 

villis versicoloribus tapetas. 

lam vero iuvenalibus peractis 
quern te praebueris sequente in aevo, 
intra aulam soceri mei expetitus 430 

curam cum moderatus es Palati, 
chartis posterioribus loquemur, 
si plus temporibus vacat futuris ; 
nunc quam diximus hospitalitatem 
paucis personet obsequens Thalia. 435 

O dulcis domus, o pii penates, 
quos (res difficilis sibique discors) 
libertas simul excolit pudorque ! 
o convivia, fabulae, libelli, 

risus, serietas, dicacitates, 440 

occursus, comitatus unus idem, 
seu delubra dei colenda nobis 

tecta inlustria seu videnda Livi, 445 

sive ad pontificem gradus ferendi, 443 

sive ad culmina Martii Myronis, 
sive ad doctiloqui Leonis aedes 446 

(quo bis sex tabulas docente iuris 
ultro Claudius Appius lateret 
claro obscurior in decemviratu ; 
at si dicat epos metrimique rhythmis 450 

445. transposuit Luetjohann. 

^ Note the plurals; the two members of the winning 
pair receive the same prizes. One of them had not finished 
the course, but he had done his best for his side. Thus 
unselfish " team-work " was encouraged. 


are a rampart to the Bosphorus. Next the just 
emperor ordered silken ribands to be added to the 
victors' palms and crowns to the necklets of gold,^ 
and true merit to have its reward; while to the 
vanquished in their sore disgrace he bade rugs of 
many-coloured hair to be awarded. 

As for your conduct in after-time, when the days 
of youth were over, when you were welcomed to the 
Court of my wife's father and were charged with the 
oversight of the Palace - — of this I will tell in a later 
MTiting if the future allows me more free time ; but 
now let my obedient Muse proclaim in a few ringing 
words the hospitality of which I have made mention. 

O charming home, O holy hearth, graced by that 
double glor)% so hard to win, so hard to make one — 
free speech and modesty ! O feasts and talks and 
books, laughter, seriousness, and witty saws, happy 
meetings, and fellowship ever the same, whether 
God's temple was to be reverently honoured by us 
or the glorious house of Livius ^ was to be visited 
or our way led to the Bishop * or to the towering 
house of Martius M)to or to the house of the eloquent 
Leo ! ^ (If Leo had been expounding the Twelve 
Tables of the Law, Appius Claudius would have lain 
low of his own accord, and in that decemvirate so 
illustrious he would have been a meaner figure; 
if, again, Leo should sound an epic strain, guiding 

* The cura palatii entailed the oversight of the palaces and 
other royal buildings. The holder of this office in the western 
Empire received the rank of spectabilis. In the eastern 
Empire the cura palatii was a very exalted office. 

' A poet of Nar bonne. 

* Probably Hermes, who succeeded Rusticus in a.d. 462. 

' See 9. 314 n. Martius Myro is not otherwise known: 
see n. on 9. 30H. 



flectat commaticis tonante plectro, 

mordacem faciat silere Flaccum, 

quamvis post satiras lyraraque tendat 

ille ad Pindarieum vol are cygnum) ; 

seu nos, Magne, tuus favor tenebat, 455 

multis praedite dotibus virorum, 

forma, nobilitate, mente, censu 

(cuius si varios earn per actus, 

centum et ferrea lasset ora laude, 

constans, ingeniosus efficaxque, 460 

prudens arbiter, optimus propinquus, 

nil fraudans genii sibi vel uUi 

personas, loca, tempus intuendo) ; 

seu nos atria vestra continebant, 

Marcelline meus, perite legum 465 

(qui, verax nimis et nimis severus, 

asper crederis esse nescienti ; 

at si te bene quispiam probavit, 

noscit quod velit ipse iudicare ; 

nam numquam metuis loqui quod aequum est, 470 

si te Sulla premat ferusque Carbo, 

si tristes Marii trucesque Cinnae, 

et si forte tuum caput latusque 

circumstent gladii triumvirales) ; 

seu nos Limpidii lares habebant, 475 

civis magnifici virique summi, 

fratemam bene regulam sequentis ; 

seu nos eximii simul tenebat 

nectens officiositas Marini, 

469. quidPT. 

1 "Pindaric swan"; Hor. G. IV. 2. 25: the "Odes 
(lyram) are those of the first three books. 


the metre in brief measured clauses to the thundering 
note of the lyre, he would force the carping Flaccus 
to silence, even though that bard after his Satires 
and his Odes should strive to soar to the heights of 
the Pindaric swan.^) It was the same when we were 
entertained by the kindliness of Magnus,^ one who is 
endowed with many a manly grace, with comeliness, 
birth, intellect, and wealth ; truly, were I to go 
through the list of his diverse achievements, he would 
wear out a hundred tongues, even tongues of iron, 
with the telling of his praise — that man so staunch, 
so talented, so efficient, wise mediator, best of kins- 
men, stinting neither himself nor others of enjoy- 
ment, regardful as he ever is of persons, places and 
seasons. It was the same when we found ourselves 
in the hall of my o\vn Marcellinus,^ learned in the 
law, who being immeasurably truthful and strict is 
deemed harsh by the ignorant; but if anyone has 
proved him well, then he knows that our friend's 
judgment is what he would like his own to be ; 
for Marcellinus is never afraid to utter what is right — 
nor would he be were Sulla or savage Carbo or gloomy 
Marii or ferocious Cinnas threatening him, or if the 
swords of the triumvirs flashed about his head and 
side. It was the same when the home of Limpidius * 
welcomed us ; a splendid patriot he and a great man, 
who follows well his brother's pattern; or it might 
be that the excellent Marinus * with his engaging 

* Magnus of Narbonne, an eminent Gallo-Roman noble, 
praefectus praeiorio Galliarum 458-9, consul 460; father of 
Magnus Felix (9. 1 n.); identified by Sundwall with the 
grandson of Agricola and father of Araneola (15. 151 sqq.). 
See 6. 658; 14, § 2; 24. 90; Epist. I. 11. 10. 

' Mentioned in Epist. II. 13. 1. 

* Limpidius and Marinus are not otherwise known. 


cuius sedulitas sodalitasque 480 

aeterna mihi laude sunt colendae; 

seu quoscumque alios videre fratres 

cordi utrique fuit, quibus vacasse 

laudandam reor occupationem ; 

horum uomina cum referre versu 485 

adfectus cupiat, metrum recusat. 

Hinc nos ad propriam domum vocabas, 
cum mane exierat novum et calescens 
horam sol dabat alteram secundam. 
hie promens teretes pilas trochosque, 490 

hie talos erepitantibus fritillis 
nos ad verbera iactuum struentes, 
tamquam Naupliades, repertor artis, 
gaudebas hilarem eiere rixam. 

hine ad balnea, non Neroniana 495 

nee quae Agrippa dedit vel ille cuius 
bustum Dalmaticae vident Salonae, 
ad thermas tamen ire sed libebat 
privato bene praebitas pudori. 

post quas nos tua pocula et tuarura 500 

Musarum medius torus tenebat, 
quales nee statuas imaginesque 
acre aut marmoribus coloribusque 
Mentor, Praxiteles, Scopas dederunt, 
quantas nee Polycletus ipse finxit 505 

nee fit Phidiaco figura caelo. 

Sed iam te veniam loquaeitati 
quingenti hendecasyllabi precantur. 
tantum, etsi placeat, poema longum est. 
iamiam sufficit, ipse et impediris 510 

492. iactuum ego: tractuum. Vid. Glass. Quart., loc. cit. 
p. 33. 



courtesy was likewise entertaining us, a man whose 
attentiveness and sociableness have earned my 
everlasting praise. It was just the same if we both 
took a fancy to visit any other of the brethren, to 
spare time for whom I deem a glorious occupation; 
but though my affection would fain record their 
names in verse, metre forbids. 

Afterwards you would bid us to your own home, 
when the early morning had passed and the sun w ith 
its gathering warmth was bringing the second hour 
to second ^ our wishes. Then you would bring out 
the shapely balls and hoops or the dice which with 
rattling box marshal us for the hurtling throw, and 
like Nauplius' son,^ inventor of the art, you would 
exult in the raising of a merry quarrel. Hence to 
the baths; they were not those of Nero or those 
given by Agrippa or by him whose tomb Dalmatian 
Salonae views,^ but we were pleased to go to baths 
fittingly provided for privacy and modesty. After 
the bath your cups and a couch in the midst of your 
Muses would claim us : no statues or likenesses to 
compare with these were ever fashioned in bronze or 
marble or colours by Mentor, Praxiteles, or Scopas : 
Polycletus himself did not mould any so great, nor 
did Phidias with his chisel. 

But now five hundred hendecasyllables crave your 
pardon for their wordiness. A poem of this size, 
even if it should please, is too long. Now at last 
I've had enough of it; and you yourself are finding 

* alteram secundam : for the pun cf. 2. 1. Others would 
translate " the fourth hour." 

* Palamedes, the reputed inventor of dice. 

* Diocletian. 

thp: poems of sidonius 

multum in carmine perlegens amicum, 
dorniitantibus otiosiorem. 


E2:ressus foribus meis, libelle, 
hanc servare viam, precor, memento, 
quae nostros bene diicit ad sodales, 
quorum nomina sedulus notavi ; 

antiquus tibi nee teratur agger, 5 

cuius per spatium satis vetustis 
nomen Caesareum viret columnis ; 
sed sensim gradere: et moras habendo 
adfectum celerem moves amicis. 

Ac primum Domiti larem severi 10 

intrabis trepidantibus Camenis : 
tam censorius baud fuit vel ille 
quem risisse semel ferunt in aevo ; 
sed gaudere potes rigore docto: 
hie si te probat, omnibus placebis. 15 

hinc te suscipiet benigna Brivas, 
sancti quae fovet ossa luliani, 
quae dum mortua mortuis putantur, 
vivens e tumulo micat potestas. 

hinc iam dexteriora carpis arva 20 

emensusque iugum die sub uno 

^ Milestones. The book is to avoid the high-road. 
' A grammaticus, to whom Epist. II. 2 is addressed. 



it an encumbrance to read through such a long bit 
of your friend in verse, a friend who is more of an 
idler than a man in a doze. 


When you pass out by my door, little book, pray 
remember to keep this route ; it leads conveniently 
to some comrades of mine whose names I have care- 
fully put down. Do not tread the old road, through 
whose whole length the name of Caesar shows bright 
on very old pillars ; ^ go by easy stages : by such slow 
progress you can call forth prompt affection from our 

First of all you shall enter the home of the strict 
Domitius,^ where our Muse will be very nervous; 
for even the man who, they say, laughed only once 
in his life ^ was not as critical as he. Yet you may 
take pleasure in his sage severity, for if he approve 
of you, you will satisfy everybody. Next you shall 
be taken in hand by kindly Brivas,* which cherishes 
the bones of the holy Julian; those bones are 
deemed dead by the dead, but a living power flashes 
forth from that tomb. From here you wind through 
fields more to the right, and having traversed a 
hill -ridge on the same day^ on the morrow you behold 

' Marcus Crassus, grandfather of the triumvir. The allega> 
tion was first made by Lucilius (1299 sq. Marx). 

* Brioude (Haute-Loire). St. Julian suffered martyrdom 
in A.D. 304. The Emperor Avitus was buried in the church 
at Brioude. " The dead " means those who are " dead in 
their sins " (Coloss. 2. 13; Ephea. 2. 1). 


flavum crastinus aspicis Triobrem; 

turn terrain Gabalum satis nivosam 

et, quantum indigenae volunt putari, 

sublimem in puteo videbis urbem. 25 

hinc te temporis ad mei Laconas 

lustinum rapies suumque fratrem, 

quorum notus amor per orbis ora 

calcat Pirithoumque Theseumque 

et fidum rabidi sodalem Orestae. 30 

horum cum fueris sinu receptus, 

ibis Trevidon et calumniosis 

vicinum nimis, heu, iugum Rutenis. 

hie docti invenies patrem Tonanti, 

rectorem columenque Galliarum, 35 

prisci Ferreolum parem Syagri, 

coniunx Papianilla quem pudico 

curas participans iuvat labore, 

qualis nee Tanaquil fuit nee ilia 

quam tu, Tricipitine, procreasti, 40 

^ Triober, or Triobris, mod. Truyere, tributary' of the Oltis 
(Lot), which is a tributary of the Garonne. The Gabales 
(or Gabali ; also Gabalitani, Epist. V. 13. 2, VII. 6. 7) were an 
Aquitanian people on the border of Narbonese Gaul, occupying 
the N. W. slopes of the Cevennes. 

2 Such local tales of wonderful things to be seen in water 
are common enough. An unfounded view, perhaps suggested 
by Savaron's note, that puteus here means " hill " (Fi-. puy^ 
which, however, comes from podium), has found general 
acceptance. S. Reinach, Rev. Arch. Ser. V. I. 3 (1916), 
suggests orbem for urbem and boldly takes sublimem orbem 
to mean the moon, which is proverlaially invisible in French 

3 i.e. the Castor and Pollux of his day. 

* Epist. V. 21 is written to lustinus and his brother Sacerdos. 
' Conjectured without very much reason to be mod. Treves 
(Dep. Gard). 



the yellow Triober.^ Next you shall see the land of 
the Gabales, where the snow lies deep, and, accord- 
ing to what the natives would have us believe, you 
will view a towering city in a wcll.^ Next you shall 
hasten to those two Spartans of my time,^ lustinus 
and his brother,* whose love is the theme of every 
tongue in the world, thrusting into nothingness 
Pirithous and Tlieseus and the faithful comrade of 
mad Orestes. After they have received you with 
open arms you shall go to Trevidos ^ and to the hill 
which is, alas ! only too near to those slanderers, 
the Ruteni.® Here you will find the father of the 
learned Tonantius,^ the governor and pillar of the 
Gallic lands, Ferreolus, peer of old Syagrius,® to 
whom Papianilla gives all the help a good wife can, 
sharing his cares — a woman surpassing Tanaquil and 
the daughter of Tricipitinus ^ and that votary of 

• Their town (orig. Segodunum) is the modern Rodez on the 
upper course of the Aveyron, tributary of the Garonne, The 
name survives also in the district-name Le Rouerge. 

' To the young Tonantius Epist. IX. 13 is addressed. 
His father, Tonantius Ferreolus, was related through his wife 
Papianilla {v. 37) to Sidonius, whose wife had the same name. 
He was a very eminent man of distinguished ancestry (Epist. 
VII. 12. 1 sqq.); Praetorian Prefect of Gaul 451, when he 
helped to secure Gothic support against Attila (Epist. VII. 
12. 3); a little later his diplomacy saved Aries from Thoris- 
mund (ib.). In a.u. 469 he was sent to Rome with Thaumastua 
and Petronius to prosecute Arvandus (Epist. I. 7. 4). He 
became a Patrician (the date is uncertain). Besides his estate 
at Trevidos he had one called Prusianum near Nimes (Epist. 
II. 9. 7). 

• Afranius Syagrius of Lyons, maternal grandfather of 
Tonantius Ferreolus, To him Symmachus wrote a number of 
lett*!ra and Ausonius dedicated a book of poems. He was 
consul in a.d. 381 (less probably 382). See Epist. I. 7. 4, 
V. 17. 4. 

• Lucretia, daughter of Sp. Lucretius Tricipitinus. 



qualis nee Phrygiae dicata Vestae 

quae contra satis Albulam tumentem 

duxit virgineo ratem capillo. 

hine te Laesora, Caucason Scytharum 

vincens, aspiciet citusque Tarnis, 45 

limosum et solido sapore pressum 

piscem perspieua gerens in unda. 

hie Zeti et Calais tibi adde pennas 

nimbosumque iugum fugax caveto ; 

namque est assiduae ferax procellae ; 50 

sed quamvis rapido ferare cursu, 

lassum te Vorocingus obtinebit. 

nostrum hie invenies Apollinarem, 

seu contra rabidi Leonis aestus 

vestit frigore marmorum penates, 55 

sive hortis spatiatur in repostis, 

quales mellifera virent in Hybla, 

quales Corycium senem beantes 

fuscabat picei latex Galaesi ; 

sive inter violas, thymum, ligustrum, 60 

serpyllum, casiam, crocum atque caltam. 

narcissos hyacinthinosque flores 

spemit quam pretii petitor ampli 

glaebam turifer advehit Sabaeus; 

seu ficto potius specu quiescit 65 

collis margine, qua nemus reflexum 

nativam dare porticum laborans 

non lucum arboribus facit, sed antrum. 

52. vorocingus (7, voracingus PT, veracingus F. 

1 Claudia, the Vestal, drew along the Tiber the boat con- 
taining the image of Magna Mater from Pessinus. The idea 
that she dragged it bv her hair is probably taken from Claudian, 
Carm. Min. XXX. (XXIX.) 18. 



Phrygian Vesta ^ who against the fiercely swelling 
waters of Tiber dragged the ship by her virtuous 
hair. Next Laesora,^ which overtops the Scythian 
Caucasus, shall behold you ; so shall the rapid Tarnis,^ 
which carries in its translucent waters a fish that 
haunts the mud, loaded with solid savouriness. 
Here put on the wings of Zetus and Calais and take 
flight from that cloudy mountain-ridge, for it is rife 
x^ith constant gales. But however speedily you are 
rushing along, Vorocingus * shall harbour your 
wearied frame. Here you will find my dear 
Apollinaris. He may be clothing his home in a cold 
^Tapping of marble against the heat of the raging 
Lion ; or he may be walking in his secluded gardens, 
which are like those that bloom on honey-bearing 
Hybla or those others, the joy of the old man of 
Corycus, which the waters of black Galaesus dark- 
ened;^ or there among his violets, thyme, privet, 
serpyllum, casia, saffron, marigolds, narcissus, and 
blooms of hyacinth he may be rejecting the earthy 
lump that the Sabaean carrier of frankincense brings 
from afar, seeking a great price; or he may have 
chosen to rest in his mimic grotto on the edge of the 
hill, where the trees take a backward sweep, striving 
to make a natural portico, and thereby create not a 

* A mountain, modem Lozere. 
' Modern Tarn. 

* \'orocingus, the estate of Apollinaris, was near the 
Prusianum of Tonuntius Ferreolus (t?. 34 n.) : see Epist. 
II. 9. 1 and 7. The view that this Apollinaris is identical with 
the one mentioned in the n. on v. 85 (see Stevens, pp. 195f.) 
raises grave diflficulties. 

* An allusion to Virgil's charming description of the garden 
cultivated near Tarentum by a humble Corycian, Georg. IV. 
125 sqq. V. 59 is a paraphrase of Virgil, v. 126; Corycium 
senem is taken from the same sentence {v. 127). 


quis pomaria prisca regis Indi 

hie nunc comparet aureasque vites 70 

electro viridante pampinatas, 

cum Poms posuit crepante gaza 

fulvo ex palmite vineam metalli 

gemmarum fluitantibus raceniis ? 

Hinc tu Cottion ibis atque Avito 75 

nostro dicis " ave," deliinc " valeto." 
debes obsequium viro perenne ; 
nam, dent hinc veniam mei propinqui, 
non nobis prior est parens amico. 
hinc te iam Fidulus, decus bonorum 80 

et nee Tetradio latens secundus 
moruni dotibus aut tenore recti, 
sancta suscipit hospitalitate. 
exin tende gradum Tribusque Villis 
Thaumastum expete, quemlibet duorum: 85 

quorum iunior est mihi sodalis 
et collega simul graduque frater ; 
quod si fors senior tibi invenitur, 
hunc pronus prope patruum saluta. 
hinc ad consulis ampla tecta Magni 90 

81 . latens ego : satis. Vid. Class. Quart., loc. cit. p. 23. 

^ There are many ancient and mediaeval references to 
" golden vines " and similar extravagances of the East. These 
became a favourite ingredient of the " Alexander-romance." 
For an interesting description of such wonders in the palace of 
King Porus see Epist. Alexandri ad Aristotdem, edited, with 
lulius Valerius, by B. Kuebler, p. 193 ; Pfister's Kleine Texte 
zum Alezanderroman, p. 22, For the "golden vine " at Jeru- 
salem see Josephus B. Ivd. V. 5. 4, Tac. Hist. V. 5 ad fn., 
Flor. I. 40 (III. 5) 30. The earliest mention of such a thing 
seems to be in Herodotus VII. 27. 

' Cottion cannot be identified. 

- A kinsman of Sidonius ; Kpist. III. 1 is addressed to him. 



grove but rather a cavern. In that place who would 
now bring into comparison the ancient orchards of 
the Indian king and the golden vines ^ with their 
tendrils of verdant electrum in the days when Porus 
made a metal vineyard with treasure rustling on the 
yellow branches and clusters of gems swaying about ? 
Thence you shall go to Cottion ^ and say to my 
Avitus ' " Good-day " and then " Good-bye." To that 
man you owe eternal duty, for (may my near and dear 
ones forgive me for this !) I put not even a parent 
before a friend. Next Fidulus,* glory of all good 
men and no humble second even to Tetradius ^ 
in gifts of character or in steadfast rectitude, shall 
receive you with pious hospitality. Thence wend 
your way and at Three Manors ® visit Thaumastus — 
either of the two Wonders :^ the younger is my bosom- 
friend and also my colleague and in standing my 
brother; but if you chance to find the elder, bow 
low and salute him as almost my uncle. Hence pass 
on to the spacious abode of the consul Magnus * 

• Not otherwise known. 

' A lawyer, to whom Epist. III. 10 is written. There is 
a play on the words Tetradius (which suggests "four") and 

• Not otherwise known. 

' This seems to refer to Thaumastus and his younger brother 
Apoliinaris; Sidonius is punning on the word ThaumaMus, 
which means " wonderful." Thaum. is mentioned in Epist. 
I. 7. 4, V. 6. 1, and Epist. V. 7 is addressed to him. Apol- 
iinaris is mentioned in Epist. V. 6. 1 ; Epist. IV. 6, V. 3 and 6 
are written to him. These brothers were kinsmen (probably 
cousins) of Sidonius. Simplicius seems to have been another 
brother; Epist. IV. 4 and 12 are addressed to him and Apol- 
iinaris; cf. VII. 4. 4. In V. 6. 1 Sidonius writes of Thau- 
mastus in terms which remind one of the present passage. 

• See 23. 455 n. 



Felicemque tuum veni, libelle ; 

et te bybliotheca qua paterna est, 

qiialis nee tetrici fuit Philagri, 

admitti faciet Probus probatum; 

hie saepe Eulaliae meae legeris, 95 

euius Ceeropiae pares Minervae 

mores et rigidi senes et ipse 

quondam purpureus socer timebant. 

Sed iam sufficit: ecce linque portum; 
ne te pondere plus premam saburrae, 100 

his in versibus ancoram levato. 

92. qua Luetjohann : quae codd. 



and to your friend Felix,^ O book of mine, and where 
their father's library stands, a library such as not 
even the austere Pliilagrius^ had, Probus,* having 
given you approbation, vnW cause you to be admitted. 
Here you will often be read by my kinswoman 
Eulalia,* of whose character, worthy of Athenian 
Minerva, strict greybeards and even her husband's 
father^ in the days when he wore the purple used 
to stand in awe. 

But enough ! Away with you, put out from the 
harbour, and, lest I weight you further with a load of 
sandy ballast, up with the anchor even while these 
verses sound ! 

^ See 9. 1 n. 

* See n. on 7. 156. 

=» See 9. 6 and 333 ; Epist. IV. 1 is written to him. 

* Wife of Probus and cousin of Sidonius. 

* Magnus. The " purple" is that of the consulship. 







1. Diu praecipis, domine maior, summa suadendi 
auctoritate, sicuti es in his quae deliberabuntur 
consiliosissimus, ut, si quae mihi ^ litterae paulo 
politiores varia occasione fluxerint, prout eas causa 
persona tempus elicuit, omnes retractatis exemplari- 
bus enucleatisque uno volumine includam, Quinti 
Symmachi rotunditatem, Gai Plinii disciplinam 
maturitatemque vestigiis praesumptuosis insecu- 

^ mihi <»dd. R. 

* This letter was written about a.d. 469. Constantius of 
Lyons was a priest much admired by Sidonius for his character 
(see esp. III. 2) and for his literary ability (see II. 10, 3). 
He seems to be the Constantius who wrote a life of Remigius 
of Auxerre, but the extant life of Remigius attributed 
to him {A. SS. lul. VII., 200-220) is probably by a later 

^ The respectful address domine maior seems to occur 
only in Sidonius (cf. I. 11. 17, II. 3. 1, III. 6. 3, IV. 3. 1, 
IV. 17. 1, VIII. 4. 1). M. B. O'Brien {TiUes of address in 
Christian Latin epistolography, Washington, D.C., 1930) 
wrongly attributes the use also to Claudianus Mamertus, 





1. My honoured Lord,^ you have this long while 
been pressing me (and you have every claim on my 
attention, for you are a most competent adviser on 
the matters about to be discussed) to collect all the 
letters making any little claim to taste that have 
flowed from my pen on different occasions as this 
or that affair, person, or situation called them forth, 
and to revise and correct the originals and combine 
all in a single book.^ In so doing, I should be 
following, though with presumptuous steps, the path 
traced by Quintus Symmachus ^vith his rounded 
style and by Gaius Plinius with his highly-developed 

misled by the fact that Sidoiiius Epist. IV. 3 is reproduced in 
editions of Claudianus, to whom the letter was addressed. 
The use of comparative adjectives (especially maior, jirior, 
senior) in titles is derived from the use of the comparative 
for the superlative, which arose early in colloquial Latin 
and ultimately became fairly common in the literature. 
For the use of dominus as an honorary title in letters see 
the article in Thesaurus linguae Latinae, especially 1925 f., 
1929.30-1930.66; also O'Brien, o;). ctf., p. 83. 
* For the meaning of volumen here see Introd., p. Ixi, n. 1. 



turus. 2. nam de Marco TuUio silere melius puto, 
quem in stilo epistulari nee ^ lulius Titianus sub 
nominibus inlustrium feminarum digna similitudine 
expressit ; propter quod ilium ceteri quique Fron- 
tonianorum utpote consectaneum aemulati, cur 
veternosum dicendi genus imitaretur, oratorum 
simiam nuncupaverunt. quibus omnibus ego im- 
mane dictu est quantum semper iudicio meo cesserim 
quanturaque servandam singulis pronuntiaverim 
temporum suorum meritorumque praerogativam. 
3. sed scilicet tibi parui tuaeque examinationi has 
non recensendas (hoc enim parum est) sed defae- 
candas, ut aiunt, limandasque commisi, sciens te 
inmodicum esse fautorem non studiorum modo 
verum etiam studiosorum. quam ob rem nos nunc 
perquam haesitabundos in hoc deinceps famae 
pelagus impellis. 4. porro autem super huiusmodi 
opusculo tutius conticueramus, contenti versuum 
felicius quam peritius editorum opinione, de qua 
mihi iam pridem in portu iudicii publici post livi- 
dorum latratuum Scyllas enavigatas sufficientis 
gloriae ancora sedet. sed si et hisce deliramentis 

^ silere . . . nee. Sic Wilamowiiz; me pro melius ei 
ordinem lurhatvm exhihent codd. 

^ There were two writers of this name, father and son. 
The reference here is evidently to the elder, who seems to 
have fully earned and often received the nickname " ape " ; 
see Vit. Maximin. 27. 5 : dictua est simia temporis sui, quod 
cuncta esset imHatiis. 

* Aemulari often means "be jealous of," sometimes, as 
here, "be hostile to" or "disparage": Fronto's disciples 



artistry. 2. Marcus Tullius, indeed, I think I had 
better not mention, for even Julius Titianus ^ in his 
fictitious letters of famous women failed to produce 
a satisfactory copy of that writer's epistolary style, 
and for his pains was called " ape of the orators " 
by all the other disciples of Fronto, who were, as 
might be expected, spiteful toward this member of 
their own school for copying an outworn mode of 
writing.^ Now in the first place I have always, in 
my o^vn judgment, fallen terribly short of all the 
authors I have named ; and secondly, I have always 
strenuously proclaimed that we must uphold the 
well-earned right of each of them to the foremost 
place in his own age. 3. But you see I have obeyed 
your command, and now submit to your scrutiny 
these epistles of mine, not merely for revision (which 
would not suffice) but also for purging, as the saying 
is, and polishing ; for I know you are an enthusiastic 
friend not only to literary pursuits but to men of 
letters as well ; and that is why, whilst I shiver on 
the brink, you are launching me upon this new sea 
of ambition. 4. It would have been safer, though, 
for me never to have said a word about a petty 
work of this sort, and to have been content with the 
reputation I won by my published verses, which 
have obtained a success out of proportion to their 
skill ; thus I have sailed past Scyllas with their en- 
vious barkings, I have reached the harbour of public 
approval, and I have long been safely anchored to a 
sufficiency of fame. However, if Jealousy refrains 

would have run down a man who aped Cicero's style, but they 
would scarcely have been jealous of him. Oratorum (if the 
reading is correct) probably means "Cicero and all his 



genuinum molarem invidia non fixerit, actutum tibi 
a nobis volumina numerosiora percopiosis scatur- 
ientia sermocinationibus multiplicabuntur. vale. 



1. Saepenumero postulavisti ut, quia Theudorici 
regis Gothorum commendat populis fama civilitatem, 
litteris tibi formae suae quantitas, vitae qualitas 
significaretur. pareo libens, in quantum epistularis 
pagina sinit, laudans in te tarn delicatae sollicitudinis 
ingenuitatem. igitur vir est et illis dignus agnosci 
qui eum minus familiariter intuentur : ita personam 
suam deus arbiter et ratio naturae consummatae 
felicitatis dote sociata cumulaverunt ; mores autem 
huiuscemodi, ut laudibus eorum nihil ne regni 
quidem defrudet invidia. 2. si forma quaeratur: 
corpore exacto, longissimis brevior, procerior emi- 
nentiorque mediocribus. capitis apex rotundus, in 
quo paululum a planitie frontis in vertieem caesaries 
refuga crispatur. cervix non sedet enervis sed stat 
nervis.^ geminos orbes hispidus superciliorum 

^ enervis sed stat add. ego ; codd. varie turbati, 

* It is generally agreed that this Agricola was a son of the 
Emperor Avitus (and therefore a brother-in-law of Sidonius). 
See II. 12. 1 sq. He rose to high office, perhaps to the 
Praetorian Prefecture of the Gauls. Eventually he entered 
the priesthood. We cannot with certainty date this letter 
early in the reign of Theodorie, as many do. The last sentence 
of § 9 seems to imply that Sidonius was at the Gothic court 
when he wrote it; in that case it would have been quite 



from fastening a jaw-tooth on these new absurdities as 
well, there will straightway pour in upon you roll after 
roll gushing with exuberant garrulity. Farewell. 



1. Seeing that report commends to the world the 
graciousness of Theodoric,^ King of the Goths, you 
have often asked me to describe to you in writing 
the dimensions of his person and the character of his 
life. I am delighted to do so, subject to the limits 
of a letter, and I appreciate the honest spirit which 
prompts so nice a curiosity. Well, he is a man 
who deserves to be studied even by those who are 
not in close relations with him. In his build the will 
of God and Nature's plan have joined together to 
endow him with a supreme perfection; and his 
character is such that even the jealousy which 
hedges a sovereign has no power to rob it of its 
glories. 2. Take first his appearance. His figure 
is well-proportioned, he is shorter than the very 
tall, taller and more commanding than the average 
man. The top of his head is round, and on it his 
curled hair retreats gently from his even forehead. 
His neck is not squat and sinewless but erect and 
sinewy. Each eye is encircled by a shaggy arch of 

natural for Agricola to ask him for a description of Theodoric 
and his ways. Even though Agricola, as the son of Avitus, 
must have heard a good deal about the Gothic king, he would 
be interested in riding an up-to-date record of Sidonius's 

1 Theodoric II. (reigned a.d. 453^66). 



coronat arcus; si vero cilia flectantur, ad malas 
medias palpebrarum margo prope pervenit, aurium 
legulae, sicut mos gentis est, crinium superiacentium 
flagellis operiuntur. nasus venustissime incurvus. 
labra subtilia nee dilatatis oris angulis ampliata. pilis 
infra narium antra fruticantibus cotidiana succisio. 
barba concavis hirta temporibus, quam in subdita 
vultus parte surgentem stirpitus tonsor assiduus 
genis ut adhuc vesticipibus evellit. 3. menti, gut- 
turis, colli, non obesi sed suculenti, lactea cutis, quae 
propius inspecta iuvenali rubore sufFunditur ; namque 
hunc illi crebro colorem non ira sed verecundia facit. 
teretes umeri, validi lacerti, dura bracchia, patulae 
manus, recedente alvo pectus excedens.^ aream 
dorsi humilior inter excrementa costarum spina 
discriminat. tuberosum est utrumque musculis 
prominentibus latus. in succinctis regnat vigor 
ilibus. corneum femur, internodia poplitum bene 
mascula, maximus in minime rugosis genibus honor ; 
crura suris fulta turgentibus et, qui magna sustentat 
membra, pes modicus. 4. si actionem diurnam, 
quae est forinsecus exposita, perquiras : antelucanos 
sacerdotum suorum coetus minimo comitatu expetit, 
grandi sedulitate veneratur; quamquam, si sermo 

* excedens Luetjohann : accedens. 

^ i.e. he does not let his moustache grow. 



brow; when his eyelids droop, the extremities of 
the lashes reach almost half-way do\vn the cheeks. 
The tips of his ears, according to national fashion, 
are hidden by wisps of hair that are trained over 
them. His nose is most gracefully curved ; his lips 
are delicately moulded and are not enlarged by any 
extension of the corners of the mouth. Every day 
there is a clipping of the bristles that sprout beneath 
the nostril-cavities.^ The hair on his face grows 
heavily in the hollows of the temples, but as it 
springs up upon the lowest part of the face the 
barber constantly roots it out from the cheeks, 
keeping them as though they were still in the 
earliest stage of manly growth. 3. His chin, throat 
and neck suggest not fat but fullness; the skin is 
milk-white, but if closely looked at it takes on a 
youthful blush, for this tint is frequently produced 
in his case by modesty, not by ill-temper. His 
shoulders are well-shaped, his upper arms sturdy, 
his forearms hard, his hands broad. The chest is 
prominent, the stomach recedes ; the surface of his 
back is divided by a spine that lies low between 
the bulging ribs; his sides swell with protuberant 
muscles. Strength reigns in his well-girt loins. 
His thigh is hard as horn ; the upper legs from joint 
to joint are full of manly vigour; his knees are 
completely free from wrinkles and full of grace ; the 
legs have the support of sturdy calves, but the feet 
which bear the weight of such mighty limbs are of 
no great size. 4. And now you may want to know 
all about his everyday life, which is open to the 
public gaze. Before dawn he goes with a very small 
retinue to the service conducted by the priests of 
his faith, and he worships with great earnestness, 



secretus, possis animo advertere quod servet istam 
pro consuetudine potius quam pro ratione reveren- 
tiam. reliquum mane regni administrandi cura 
sibi deputat. circumsistit sellam comes armiger ; 
pellitorum turba satellitum ne absit, admittitur, ne 
obstrepat, eliminatur, sicque pro foribus immurmurat 
exclusa veils, inclusa cancellis. inter haec Intro- 
missis gentium legationibus audit plurima, pauca 
respondet ; si quid tractabitur, dlfFert ; si quid 
expedietur, accelerat. hora est secunda: surgit e 
solio aut thesauris inspiciendis vacaturus aut stabulls. 
5. si venatione nuntiata procedit, arcum lateri 
innectere citra gravitatem regiam iudicat ; quem 
tamen, si comminus avem feramque aut venanti aut 
vianti fors obtulerit, manui post tergum reflexae 
puer inserit nervo lorove fluitantibus; quem sicut 
puerile computat gestare thecatum, ita muliebre 
accipere iam tensum. igitur acceptum modo sinu- 
atis ^ e regione capitibus intendit, modo ad talum 
pendulum nodi parte conversa languentem chordae 
laqueum vagantis digito superlabente prosequitur ; 
et mox spicula capit implet expellit ; quidve cupias 
percuti prior admonet ut eligas ^ ; eligis quid feriat : 

^ sinuatis FR : insinuatis. 
* ut eligas add. ego. 

^ Or possibly " if one talks to him in private." 
* One end of the string is permanently knotted to one 
" horn " of the bow, the other end has a loop, which can be 
easily slipped on to the other horn. Theodoric raises one foot, 
keeping the heel on the ground, and rests the strung end of the 
bow on that foot, while the other end rests against his body 
or is firmly held in one hand. He then stoops, bending the bow 
at the same time. Taking hold of the string at the end where 
it is tied to the bow, he runs his fingers along it, thus 


though (between ourselves i) one can see that this 
devotion is a matter of routine rather than of con- 
viction. The administrative duties of his sovereignty 
claim the rest of the morning. Nobles in armour 
have places near his throne ; a crowd of guards in 
their dress of skins is allowed in so as to be at 
hand, but excluded from the presence so as not to 
disturb; and so they keep up a hum of conver- 
sation by the door, outside the curtains but within 
the barriers. Meanwhile deputations from various 
peoples are introduced, and he listens to a great 
deal of talk, but replies shortly, postponing business 
which he intends to consider, speeding that which is 
to be promptly settled. The second hour comes : he 
rises from his throne, to pass an interval in inspect- 
ing his treasures or his stables. 5. When a hunt has 
been proclaimed and he sallies forth, he considers it 
beneath his royal dignity to have his bow slung at 
his side ; but if in the chase or on the road chance 
presents bird or beast within his range, he puts his 
hand behind his back, and an attendant places the 
bow in it, with the string or thong hanging loose ; 
for he thinks it childish to carry the bow in a case, 
and womanish to take it over ready strung. When 
he takes it he either holds it straight in front of him 
and bends the two ends and so strings it, or he rests 
upon his raised foot the end which has the knot, 
and runs his finger along the loose spring until he 
comes to the dangling loop ; ^ then he takes up the 
arrows, sets them in place, and lets them fly. Or 
he may urge you first to choose what quarry you 
wish to be struck down : you choose what he is to 

straightening it out, until they reach the loop, which he 
duly attaches. 



quod elegeris ferit; et, si ab alterutro errandum est, 
rarius fallitur figentis ictus quam destinantis obtutus. 
0. si in convivium venitur, quod quidem diebus 
profestis simile privato est, non ibi impolitam con- 
geriem liventis argenti mensis cedentibus suspiriosus 
minister imponit; maximum tunc pondus in verbis 
est, quippe cum illic aut nulla narrentur aut seria. 
toreumatum peripetasmatumque modo conchyliata 
profertur supellex, modo byssina. cibi arte, non 
pretio placent, fercula nitore, non pondere. scypho- 
rum paterarumque raras oblationes facilius est ut 
accuset sitis quam recuset ebrietas. quid multis? 
videas ibi elegantiam Graecam abundantiam Galli- 
canam celeritatem Italam, publicam pompam priva- 
tam diligentiam regiam disciplinam. de luxu autem 
illo sabbatario narrationi meae supersedendum est, 
qui nee latentes potest latere personas. 7. ad 
coepta redeatur. dapibus expleto somnus meridia- 
nus saepe nuUus, semper exiguus. quibus horis viro 

* Toreuma should mean a piece of ornamental metal-work, 
e.g. a chased vase or cup; but Sirmond is undoubtedly right 
in thinking that Sidonius connected the word with torus, 
as did Prudentius {Psychom. 370) and Salvian {Ad Ecd. IV. 
33). For other examples in Sidonius see II. 13. 6, IX. 13. 5 
V. 14. Sirmond takes it to mean the coverings of the couch, 
but this does not suit the epithet sericatum, " covered with 
silk," in Bk. II., and the expression ruiilum toreuma hysso in 
Bk. IX., loc. cit., does not favour, though it does not absolutely 
exclude, such an interpretation. All difficulty disappears if we 
suppose that the word was regarded as an ornate substitute for 
toniSy " couch," or, more strictly, the mattress of the couch, 
over which a covering {peristroma) was placed. Peripetasma 
is applied to a spreading drapery, whether a hanging or a 
covering. Here the reference is probably to the perisiromata, 
which often hung down far over the side of the couch, and 



strike, and he strikes what you have chosen. Should 
a mistake be made by either, it is more often the 
eyesight of the selector than the aim of the bowman 
that is at fault. 6. When one joins him at dinner 
(which on all but festival days is just like that of a 
private household), there is no unpolished conglomer- 
ation of discoloured old silver set by panting attend- 
ants on sagging tables; the weightiest thing on 
these occasions is the conversation, for there are 
either no stories or only serious ones. The couches, 
with their spreading draperies, show an array 
sometimes of scarlet cloth, sometimes of fine linen.^ 
The viands attract by their skilful cookeiy, not by 
tlieir costliness, the platters by their brightness, not 
by their weight. Replenishment of the goblets or 
wine-bowls comes at such long intervals that there 
is more reason for the thirsty to complain than for 
the intoxicated to refrain. To sum up : you can 
find there Greek elegance, Gallic plenty, Italian 
briskness ; the dignity of state, the attentiveness of 
a private home, the ordered discipline of royalty. 
But as to the luxury of the days of festival I had 
better hold my tongue, for even persons of no 
note cannot fail to note it. 7. To resume the 
story : after satisfying his appetite he never takes 
more than a short midday sleep, and often goes 
without it. In the hours when the gaming-board * 

toreumoUum peripetasmatumque may be regarded as a 

* Tabula may here be used for tabula Itisoria or as the name 
of a particular board-game, on which see R. G. Austin in 
Greece and Rome IV. (1935), pp. 77-79. In any case the 
game described in this passage is one of those in which both 
dice and pieces were used, as in the various forms of 


VOL, I. O 


tabula cordi, tesseras coUigit rapide, inspicit sollicite, 
volvit argute, mittit instanter, ioculanter compellat, 
patienter exspectat. in bonis iactibus tacet, in 
malis ridet, in neutris irascitur, in utrisque philo- 
sophatur. secundas fastidit vel timere vel facere, 
quarum opportunitates spernit oblatas, transit 
oppositas. sine motu evaditur, sine colludio evadit. 
putes ilium et in calculis arma tractate : sola est 
illi cura vincendi. 8. cum ludendum est, regiam 
sequestrat tantisper severitatem, hortatur ad ludum 
libertatem communionemque. dicam quod sentio: 
timet timeri, denique oblectatur commotione 
superati et tum demum credit sibi non cessisse 
collegam, cum fidem fecerit victoriae suae bilis 
aliena. quodque mirere, saepe ilia laetitia minimis 
occasionibus veniens ingentium negotiorum merita 
fortunat. tunc petitionibus diu ante per patro- 
ciniorum naufragia iactatis absolutionis subitae 
portus aperitur; tunc etiam ego aliquid obsecra- 
turus feliciter vincor, quando mihi ad hoc tabula 
perit, ut causa salvetur. 9. circa nonam recrudescit 
molis ilia regnandi. redeunt pulsantes, redeunt 

^ We do not know enough about the game to understand this. 
Secundae (sc. tesseracl) is obviously a technical term. Prob- 
ably at certain junctures the player was allowed the option 
of a second throw. The translation given of oppositas accords 
with Dr. Semple's view. 

' Tabula may here b« the name of the game, but more 
probably it is a collective term for a player's pieces, as 



attracts him he is quick to pick up the dice; he 
examines them anxiously, spins them with finesse, 
throws them eagerly; he addresses them jestingly 
and calmly awaits the result. If the throw is lucky, 
he says nothing ; if unlucky, he smiles ; in neither 
case does he lose his temper, in either case he is a 
real philosopher. As for a second throw, he is too 
proud either to fear it or to make it ; when a chance 
of one is presented he disdains it, when it is used 
against him he ignores it.^ He sees his opponent's 
piece escape "\vithout stirring, and gets his own free 
without being played up to. You would actually think 
he was handling weapons when he handles the pieces 
on the board ; his sole thought is of victory. 8. When 
it is the time for play he throws oft' for a while the 
stern mood of royalty and encourages fun and free- 
dom and good-fellowship. My own opinion is that 
he dreads being feared. Further, he is delighted 
at seeing his defeated rival disgruntled, and it is 
only his opponent's ill-temper which really satisfies 
him that the game has not been given him. Now 
comes something to surprise you; the exultation 
which comes upon him on these trivial occasions 
often speeds the claims of important transactions. 
At such times the haven of a prompt decision is 
thrown open to petitions which have for a long 
time previously been in distress through the founder- 
ing of their advocates. I myself at such times, if 
I have a favour to ask, find it fortunate to be 
beaten by him, for I lose my pieces ^ to win my 
cause. 9. About the ninth hour the burden of royal 
business is taken up afresh. Back come the im- 

ferire was a technical term in such games for "to be 



summoventes ; ubique litigiosus fremit ambitus, 
qui tractus in vesperam cena regia interpellante 
rarescit et per aulicos deinceps pro patronorum 
varietate dispergitur, usque ad tempus concubiae 
noctis excubaturus. sane intromittuntur, quam- 
quam raro, inter cenandum mimici sales, ita ut 
nuUus conviva mordacis linguae felle feriatur; sic 
tamen quod illic nee organa hydraulica sonant nee 
sub phonasco vocalium concentus meditatum acroama 
simul intonat; nullus ibi lyristes choraules meso- 
chorus tympanistria psaltria canit, rege solum illis 
fidibus delenito, quibus non minus mulcet virtus 
animum quam cantus auditum. 10. cum surrexerit, 
inchoat nocturnas aulica gaza custodias; armati 
regiae domus aditibus assistunt, quibus horae primi 
soporis vigilabuntur. sed iam quid meas istud ad 
partes, qui tibi indicanda non multa de regno sed 
pauca de rege promisi? simul et stilo finem fieri 
decet, quia et tu cognoscere viri non amplius quam 
studia personamque voluisti et ego non historiam 
sed epistulam efficere curavi. vale. 



portunate petitioners, back come the marshals to 
drive them off; everywhere the rivalry of the dis- 
putants makes an uproar. This continues till even- 
ing; then the royal supper interrupts and the 
bustle fades away, distributing itself among the 
various courtiers whose patronage this or that party 
enjoys; and thus they keep watch till the night- 
watches. It is true that occasionally (not often) the 
banter of Iom' comedians is admitted during supper, 
though they are not allowed to assail any guest with 
the gall of a biting tongue. In any case no hydrauUc 
organs are heard there, nor does any concert-party 
under its trainer boom forth a set performance in 
chorus ; there is no music of lyrist, flautist or dance- 
conductor, tambourine-girl or female citharist ; for the 
king finds a charm only in the string music which com- 
forts the soul with virtue just as much as it soothes 
the ear with melody. 10. When he rises from the 
table, the night-watch is first posted at the royal 
treasury and armed sentries are set at the entrances 
to the palace, who will keep guard through the 
hours of the first sleep. 

But I have already exceeded my part, for I 
promised to tell you a little about the king, not a 
long story about his rule; it is also fitting that my 
pen should come to a stop because you desired to 
hear only of the tastes and personality of the great 
man and because I took it upon myself to write a 
letter, not a history. Farewell. 





1. I nunc et legibus me ambitus interrogatum 
senatu move, cur adipiscendae dignitati hereditariae 
curis pervigilibus incumbam; cui pater socer avus 
proavus praefecturis urbanis praetorianisque, magis- 
teriis Palatinis militaribusque micuerunt. 2. et 
ecce Gaudentius meus, hactenus tantum tribunicius, 
oscitantem nostrorum civium desidiam vicariano apice 
transcendit. mussitat quidem iuvenum nostrorum 
calcata generositas, sed qui transiit derogantes in 
hoc solum movetur, ut gaudeat. igitur venerantur 
hucusque contemptum ac subitae stupentes dona 

* Philomathius is mentioned in V. 1 7. 7. It is unfortunately 
impossible to date this letter, as we do not know when 
Gaudentius held the vicariate referred to. 

^ There is no other evidence that the great-grandfather 
of Sidonius held any such public office, or that any of the kins- 
men referred to ever held the Prefecture of the City ; Sidonius 
himself held it in a.d. 468. Magisterium was the office of a 
magister, and mag. mil. obviously refers to the magisterium 
militum held by Avitus (Introd., p. xx, Carm. 7. 377 sq., 
n. on 359 sqq.), but Palatinis m/igisteriis is puzzling. We do 
not read elsewhere that any relation of Sidonius was ever 
mugister officiorum or one of the mxigistri scriniorum (on these 
offices see Bury, I. p. 29). It is just possible, though scarcely 
likely, that Sidonius's father held one of these posts after being 
trihimus et notarius, under Honorius, or, if he became chief 
{primicerius) of the tribuni et notarii, he may have received 
the honorary title of magister officiorum on his retirement 
from office, as seems sometimes to have happened. Or did 
the mysterious great-grandfather hold one of those offices? 
On the whole, it seems probable that when Sidonius says 




1. Go to now — indict me by the Electoral Cor- 
ruption Acts and propose my dismissal from the 
Senate for striving with unsleeping labours to win 
a hereditary position, seeing that my father, my 
father-in-law, my grandfather and my great-grand- 
father won the distinctions of praetorian and city 
prefectures and Masterships at court and in the 
army.^ 2. And lo ! my friend Gaudentius, till now 
only of tribunician rank, has overclimbed the yawn- 
ing idleness of our countrymen by winning the 
dignity of a vicarius.^ Of course our young lord- 
lings are muttering about " trampling on good 
birth," but when a man has risen over the heads of 
backbiters the only effect on him is a feeling of 
elation. So they worship a man whom till yester- 
day they belittled, and, full of wonderment at the 

" Palatine and military Masterships " he is speaking loosely 
and grandiloquently of a Mastership of soldiers and the 
"Palatine" post of irihunus et notarius. The name "Pala- 
tine " was applied to ofi&ces connected with the great depart- 
ments of the Imperial civil service which had their head- 
quarters at Rome under the immediate control of the Emperor. 
* He had been trihunus et notarius (on this office see Bury I. 
23, C.M.H. I. 38), and was now Vicarius Septem Provinciarum 
per Gallias. The provinces in each praetorian prefecture 
were grouped so as to form a number of dioceses (dioeceses), 
each of which was administered by a vicarius. The Septem 
Provinciae were Vienneiisis, Narbonensis I and II, Novem 
Populi (Novem populana). Aquitanica I and II, Alpes Mari- 
timae; but the Vicarius Septem Provinciarum seems at this 
time to have exercised supervision over all the Gallic provinces. 



fortunae quem consessu despiciebant, sede suspi- 
ciunt. ille obiter stertentum oblatratorum aures 
rauci voce praeconis everberat, qui in eum licet 
stimulis inimicalibiis excitentur, scamnis tamen 
amicalibus deputabuntur. 3. unde te etiam par 
fuerit privilegio consiliorum praefecturae, in quae 
participanda deposceris, antiquati honoris perniciter 
sarcire dispendium, ne, si extra praerogativam 
consiliarii in concilium veneris, solas vicariorum vices 
egisse videare. vale. 



1. Macte esto, vir amplissime, fascibus partis dote 
meritorum; quorum ut titulis apicibusque potiare 
non maternos reditus, non a vitas largitiones, non 
uxorias gemmas, non paternas pecunias numeravisti, 
quia tibi e contrario apud principis domum inspecta 
sinceritas, spectata sedulitas, admissa sodalitas laudi 
fuere. o terque quaterque beatum te, de cuius 

^ He had apparently been assessor to the Vicarius. 

* The counsellors {consiliarii), or assessors (adsessores), of 
the Praetorian Prefect had a position of great dignity. At the 
end of their year of office they received many privileges, and 
ranked with the Vicarii. 



gifts of an unexpected fortune, they look up to him in 
the iuda:ment-seat, though they used to look down on 
him when he was seated by their side. Meanwhile 
the lucky man makes the husky usher's yells beat 
upon the ears of those stertorous snarlers ; but 
although they are goaded by feelings of enmity 
towards him they will be given places on the benches 
reserved for his friends. 3. So it will be the proper 
course for you also to repair promptly the loss of 
your expired office ^ by accepting the earnest invi- 
tation addressed to you to occupy the favoured 
position of Counsellor to the Prefect ; ^ for if you 
come to the Council ^ without the special standing 
of a counsellor you will be looked upon only as one 
who has acted as deputy vicarius. Farewell. 



1. Congratulations, my noble friend, on the office 
you have won through the dower of your deserts. 
To win its titles and glories you have not expended 
a mother's rent-roll, a grandfather's bounty, a wife's 
jewels or a father's capital ; but on the contrary you 
have won distinction in an emperor's household by 
well-tested honesty, well-attested assiduity and an 
approved claim to intimacy. " O three and four times 
happy thou "* by whose elevation joy is brought to 
your friends, punishment to your detractors and dis- 

' The Concilium Septem Provinciarum (Introd., p. xii). 
* Virg. Aen. I. 94. 



culniine datur amicis laetitia, lividis poena, posteris 
gloria, turn praeterea vegetis et alacribus exemplum, 
desidibus et pigris incitamentum ; et tamen, si qui 
sunt qui te quocumque animo deinceps aemula- 
buntur, sibi forsitan, si te consequantur, debeant. 
tibi debebunt procul dubio quod sequuntur. 

2. spectare mihi videor bonorum pace praefata illam 
in invidis ignaviam superbientem et illud militandi 
inertibus familiare tastidium, cum a desperatione 
crescendi inter bibendum philosophantes ferias 
inhonoratorum laudant, vitio desidiae, non studio 
perfectionis . . . 

* * ♦ 

3. . . . appetitus, ne adhuc pueris usui foret, 
maiorum iudicio reiciebatur; sic adulescentum 
declamatiunculas pannis textilibus comparantes intel- 
legebant eloquia iuvenum laboriosius brevia produci 
quam porrecta succidi. sed hinc quia istaec satis, 
quod subest, quaeso reminiscaris velle me tibi studii 
huiusce vicissitudinem reponderare, modo me actioni- 
bus iustis deus annuens et sospitem praestet et 
reducem. vale. 

1 The end of this letter and the beginning of another (of 
which § 3 is the concliision) have apparently been lost. 



tinction to your posterity ; an example, moreover, to 
the energetic and zealous and a spur to the idle and 
lazy. And certainly if others in their turn, no 
matter in what spirit, become your rivals, such 
people, though they may claim credit to themselves 
if they catch up with you, will certainly owe it to 
you that they follow in your path. 2. I picture 
myself looking on (I say this with all respect to the 
better sort) at the combination of arrogance and 
indolence among your ill-wdshers, and at that dis- 
dain of public service which is characteristic of the 
slothful, when, hopeless themselves of rising in the 
world, they play the philosopher over their wine 
and praise the leisured lives of those who hold no 
office, — not from any eagerness for perfection but 
simply through vicious indolence.^ 

* •«• * 

3. Indeed the judgment of our ancestors condemned 
the straining after . . . lest it should be taken 
advantage of by mere boys. They compared the 
short rhetorical exercises of striplings with pieces of 
cloth, meaning that it is harder to lengthen the 
compositions of young students if too short than to 
cut them down if too long. But I have said enough 
on this matter: now as to what lies at the bottom 
of my remarks — please remember that I am most 
anxious to repay this zeal of yours by giving like for 
like, provided only that God, who rewards righteous 
efforts, keeps me safe and brings me home. 




1. Litteras tuas Romae positus accepi, quibus an 
secundum commune consilium sese peregrinationis 
meae coepta promoveant, soUicitus inquiris, viam 
etiam qualem qualiterque confecerim, quos aut 
fluvios viderim poetarum carminibus inlustres aut 
urbes moenium situ inclitas aut montes numinum 
opinione vulgatos aut campos proeliorum replica- 
tione monstrabiles, quia voluptuosum censeas quae 
lectione compereris eorum qui inspexerint fideliore 
didicisse memoratu. quocirca gaudeo te quid agam 
cupere cognoscere ; namque huiuscemodi studium 
de adfectu interiore proficiscitur. ilicet, etsi secus 
quaepiam, sub ope tamen dei ordiar a secundis, 
quibus primordiis maiores nostri etiam sinisteri- 
tatum suarum relationes evolvere auspicabantur. 
2. egresso mihi Rhodanusiae nostrae moenibus publi- 
cus cursus Usui fuit utpote sacris apicibus accito, et 
quidem per domicilia sodalium propinquorumque ; 
ubi sane vianti moram non veredorum paucitas sed 
amicorum multitudo faciebat, quae mihi arto implicita 
complexu itum reditumque felicem certantibus votis 

1 herenio LNT. 

* On the occasion of this letter and of No. 9 below see 
Introd., p. xl. Nothing is known of Heronius beyond what 
may be gathered from these two letters. 

^ On the meaning of ilicet see n. on Carm. 2. 332. 

* Lugdunum (Lyons), situated at the confluence of the 
Rhodanus (Rhone) and the Arar (Sa6ne). 




1. I received your letter after I had settled down 
at Rome. I see that you inquire anxiously whether 
the objects of my journey are prospering according 
to our common plan. You ask also what the route 
was like and in what manner I travelled over it, 
what rivers I viewed made famous by the songs of 
poets, what cities renowned for their situation, what 
mountains celebrated as the reputed haunts of 
deities, what fields claiming the interest of the sight- 
seer by reason of their memories of battles; for 
having learnt of these things in books you think it 
would be a pleasure (so you tell me) to have a more 
faithful account from those who have seen them with 
their own eyes. I am delighted therefore that you 
long to learn how I fare, for interest of this kind pro- 
ceeds from heartfelt affection. Well,^ though some 
things went wrong, I will begin by God's help with 
my good news ; for our ancestors too made it a rule 
to begin with such, as forming an auspicious start 
even for a narrative of their misfortunes. 2. When 
I passed the gates of our native Rhodanusia ^ I found 
the state-post at my disposal as one summoned by 
an imperial letter, and, moreover, the homes of 
intimate friends and relations lined the route; 
delays on my journey were due not to scarcity of 
post-horses but to multiplicity of friends, who clasped 
me to their hearts and vied with one another in their 
prayers on my behalf for a prosperous journey and 



conprecabatur. sic Alpium iugis appropinquatum ; 
quarum mihi citiis et facilis ascensus et inter utrimque 
terrentis latera praerupti cavatis in callem nivibus 
itinera mollita. 3. fluviorum quoque, si qui non 
navigabiles, vada commoda, vel certe pervii pontes, 
quos antiquitas a fundamentis ad usque aggerem 
caleabili silice crustatum crypticis arcubus fornicavit. 
Ticini cursoriam (sic navigio nomen) escendi, qua 
in Eridanum brevi delatus cantatas saepe comissaliter 
nobis Phaethontiadas et commenticias arborei metalli 
lacrimas risi. 4. ulvosum Lambrum caerulum Ad- 
duam, velocem Athesim pigrum Mincium, qui 
Ligusticis Euganeisque montibus oriebantur, paulum 
per ostia adversa subvectus in suis etiam gurgitibus 
inspexi ; quorum ripae torique passim quernis 
acernisque nemoribus vestiebantur. hie avium re- 
sonans dulce concentus, quibus nunc in concavis 
harundinibus, nunc quoque in iuncis pungentibus, 
nunc et in scirpis enodibus nidorum struis imposita 
nutabat; quae cuncta virgulta tumultuatim super 
amnicos margines soli bibuli suco fota fruticaverant. 
5. atque obiter Cremonam praevectus adveni, cuius 
est olim Tityro Mantuano largum suspirata proxi- 
mitas. Brixillum dein oppidum, dum succedenti 

1 Pavia. 

* Cursoria (sc. navis), so called from being employed on 
the Imperial postal service {ciirsus pnhlicus). 

8 The Po. On its banks, according to the legend, the sisters 
of Phaethon were turned into poplars and their tears into 

* The modem names of these rivers are Lambro, Adda, 
Adige, Miiicio. 

5 Virg. Ec. IX. 28, Mantua vae miserae nimium vicina 
Cremonae. The words are uttered by Moeris, not Tityrus, 
but Tityrus to Sidonius generally means the Virgil of the 
Eclogues : cf. Carm. 4. 1. 



homecoming. In this way I drew near to the heights 
of the Alps. I found the ascent quick and easy ; 
between walls of terrifying precipice on either side, 
travelling had been simplified by cutting a pathway 
through the snow. 3. As to the rivers, I found 
that such of them as were not navigable had con- 
venient fords or at any rate bridges fit for traffic : 
these our forefathers have constructed on a series of 
vaulted arches reaching from the foundations up to 
the roadway with its cobbled surface. At Ticinum ^ 
I went on board a packet-boat ^ (so they call the vessel) 
and travelled quickly down-stream to the Eridanus,^ 
where I had my laugh over Phaethon's sisters, of 
whom we have often sung amidst our revels, and 
over those mythical tears of arboreal ore. 4. I 
passed the sedgy Lambrus, the blue Addua, the swift 
Athesis, and the sluggish Mincius,* rivers which have 
their sources in the mountains of Liguria and the 
Euganeans. In each case I cruised a little way up- 
stream from the point of confluence so as to view 
each actually in the midst of its own waters. Their 
banks and knolls were everywhere clad with groves 
of oak and maple. A concert of birds filled the air 
with sweet sounds ; their nest-structures quivered, 
balanced sometimes on hollow reeds, sometimes on 
prickly rushes, sometimes too on smooth bulrushes: for 
all this undergrowth, nourished on the moisture of the 
spongy soil, had sprouted confusedly along the river 
banks. 5. Proceeding on my way I came to Cremona, 
whose nearness caused Mantua's Tityrus to sigh 
profoundly in days of old.^ Next we entered the 
town of Brixillum ^ only to quit it, just allowing time 

• Brescello, on the right bank of the Po. 



Aemiliano nautae decedit Venetus remex, tan turn 
ut exiremus intravimus, Ravennam paulo post cursu 
dexteriore subeuntes; quo loci veterem civitatem 
novumque portum media via Caesaris ambigas utrum 
conectat an separet. insuper oppidum duplex pars 
interluit Padi, [certa] ^ pars alluit; qui ab alveo 
principali molium publicarum discerptus obiectu et 
per easdem derivatis tramitibus exhaustus sic 
dividua fluenta partitur ut praebeant moenibus 
circumfusa praesidium, infusa commercium. 6. hie 
cum peropportuna cuncta mercatui, tum praecipue 
quod esui competeret, deferebatur ; nisi quod, cum 
sese hinc salsum portis pelagus impingeret, hinc 
cloacali pulte fossarum discursu lintrium ventilata 
ipse lentati languidus lapsus umoris nauticis cuspidi- 
bus foraminato fundi glutino sordidaretur, in medio 
undarum sitiebamus, quia nusquam vel aquae- 
ductuum liquor integer vel cisterna defaecabilis 
vel fons inriguus vel puteus inlimis. 7. unde pro- 
gressis ad Rubiconem ventum, qui originem nomini 
de glarearum colore puniceo mutuabatur quique olim 
Gallis cisalpinis Italisque veteribus terminus erat, 
cum populis utrisque Hadriatici maris oppida divisui 
fuere. hinc Ariminum Fanumque perveni, illud 

1 certa sedusi; ex gloss, cetera corruptela orta videtur. 

^ The harbour constructed by Augustus as a naval 8tati<m 
was connected with the old town, which was three miles 
distant, by a causeway, here called " Caesar's road." A large 
suburb which grew up between the old town and the harbour- 
town (Portus Classis, or simply Classis) was called Caesarea. 

* Great confusion has been imported into this sentence 
through taking insuper as a preposition. The " double 
town " is the old town, which is divided into two by the 
branch of the Po which runs through it. 


for our oarsmen, who were Veneti, to give up their 
places to boatmen of Aemilia, and a little later we 
reached Ravenna, on a course bearing to the right. 
Here Caesar's road ^ runs between the old town and 
the new harbour; one could scarcely say whether 
it joins or parts them. Moreover, one branch of 
the Padus flows through this double town, another 
flows by it ; 2 for the river is diverted from its main 
bed by the intervention of the city embankments, 
along whose course are various branch channels 
which draw off more and more of the stream. The 
effect of this division is that the waters which encircle 
the walls provide protection, while those which flow 
into the town bring commerce. 6. The whole situa- 
tion is most favourable to trade, and in particular 
we saw large food-supplies coming in. But there 
was one drawback : on one side the briny sea-water 
rushed up to the gates, and elsewhere the sewer- 
like filth of the channels was churned up by the 
boat-traffic, and the bargemen's poles, boring into 
the glue at the bottom, helped to befoul the current, 
slow and sluggish at the best : the result was that 
we went thirsty though surrounded by water ,^ finding 
nowhere pure water from aqueducts, nowhere a filth- 
proof reservoir, nowhere a bubbling spring or mud- 
free well. 7. Lea\'ing this place we travelled to the 
Rubicon ; the name is derived from the red tint 
of its gravel. This used to be the dividing Une 
between Cisalpine Gaul and the old Italy, the 
towns on the Adriatic coast being divided between 
the two peoples. From this point I came on to 
Ariminum and Fanum, the former place celebrated 

' For this aspersion cf. I. 8. 2, and see note on Carm. 9. 



luliana rebellione memorabile, hoc Hasdrubaliano 
funere infectum: siquidem illic Metaurus, cuius ita 
in longum felicitas uno die parta porrigitur, ac si 
etiam nunc Dalmatico salo cadavera sanguinulenta 
decoloratis gurgitibus inferret. 8. hinc cetera 
Flaminiae oppida statim ut ingrediebar egressus 
laevo Picentes, dextro Vmbros latere transmisi; 
ubi mihi seu Calaber Atabulus seu pestilens regio 
Tuscorum spiritu aeris venenatis flatibus inebriate 
et modo calores alternante, modo frigora vaporatum 
corpus infecit. interea febris sitisque penitissimum 
cordis meduUarumque secretum depopulabantur ; 
quarum aviditati non solum amoena fontium aut 
abstrusa puteorum, quamquam haec quoque, sed 
tota ilia vel vicina vel obvia fluenta, id est vitrea 
Velini gelida Clitumni, Anienis caerula Naris sulpurea, 
pura Fabaris turbida Tiberis, metu tamen desiderium 
fallente, pollicebamur. 9. inter haec patuit et 
Roma conspectui ; cuius mihi non solum formas 
verum etiam naumachias videbar epotaturus. ubi 
priusquam vel pomoeria contingerem, triumphalibus 
apostolorum liminibus adfusus omnem protinus 

^ After crossing the Rubicon, Caesar promptly occupied 
Ariminum (Rimini). Fanum Fortunae (Fano) was an 
Umbrian coast-town, near the mouth of the Metaurus (Me- 
ta,uro). The exact site of Hasdrubal's defeat is unknown, 
but it was probably not many miles from the mouth of the 

2 A hot dry wind; see commentators on Horace, Sat. 1. 

' A lake in the Sabine country, near the Nar (Nera), now 
called Pie di Lugo or Lago delle Marmore. Virgil mentions 
the fontes Velini {Aen. VII. 517). 

* This name is borrowed from Virgil {Aen. VII. 715). 
Servius says it is the same as the Farfarus (modern Farfa), 
a Sabine stream which flows into the Tiber. 



through the insurrection of Julius, the latter dyed 
%\ith Hasdrubal's life-blood ; ^ for here is the 
Metaurus, the glory of which river was won in 
a single day but has endured through the ages, 
as though even now it swept bloody corpses 
down its empurpled waters into Dalmatia's seas. 
8. As for the other towns on the Flaminian road, I 
just entered and then left them, passing on with 
Picenum on my left and Umbria on my right; but 
there either the wind Atabulus ^ from Calabria or the 
malarial district of Etruria intoxicated my lungs 
with poisonous blasts of air that brought on sweats 
and chills alternately, and infected my whole body 
with its atmosphere. Meanwhile fever and thirst 
made havoc of the innermost recesses of my heart and 
marrow ; to their greedy claims I kept promising not 
only the deliciousness of springs and the deep-hidden 
waters of wells (though I reckoned on these also), 
but all the streams that lay on my route or near it, 
those of Velinus ^ glassy, of Clitumnus cool, of the 
Anio blue, of Nar smacking of sulphur, of the Fabaris * 
clear, of the Tiber muddy ; but caution ever balked my 
longing. 9. Amid this distress Rome burst upon 
my sight. I thought I could drink dry not only its 
aqueducts but the ponds used in its mock sea-fights. 
But before allowing myself to set foot even on 
the outer boundary of the city I sank on my 
knees at the triumphal thresholds of the Apostles,^ 

» The churches of St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Peter's, 
founded by Constantine and consecrated in a.d. 326, was still 
outside the city precincts. The basilica of St. Paul (S. Paolo 
fuori le Mura) was founded in a.d. 386. Triumphalibv^ was 
perhaps suggested by Porta Triumphalis, the gateway by which 
a general's triumphal procession entered Rome. 



sensi membris male fortibus explosum esse langu- 
orem ; post quae caelestis experimenta patrocinii 
conduct! devorsorii parte susceptus atque etiam 
nunc istaec inter iacendum scriptitans quieti pauxillu- 
lum operam impendo. 10. neque adhuc principis 
aulicorumque tumultuosis foribus obversor. inter- 
veni etenim nuptiis patricii Ricimeris, cui filia 
perennis Augusti in spem publicae securitatis copu- 
labatur. igitur nunc in ista non modo personarum 
sed etiam ordinum partiumque laetitia Transalpino 
tuo latere conducibilius visum, quippe cum hoc ipso 
tempore, quo haec mihi exarabantur, vix per omnia 
theatra macella, praetoria fora, templa gymnasia 
Thalassio Fescenninus explicaretur, atque etiam 
nunc e contrario studia sileant negotia quiescant 
iudicia conticescant, differantur legationes vacet 
ambitus et inter scurrilitates histrionicas totus 
actionum seriarum status peregrinetur. 11. iam 
quidem virgo tradita est, iam coronam sponsus, iam 
palmatam consularis, iam cycladem pronuba, iam 
togam [senator] ^ honoratus, iam paenulam deponit 
inglorius, et nondum tamen cuncta thalamorum 
pompa defremuit, quia necdum ad mariti domum 
nova nupta migravit. qua festivitate decursa cetera 
tibi laborum meorum molimina reserabuntur, si 

^ senator seclusit lAietjohann. 

1 See Carm. 2. 484 n. 

* Thalassio (or Talassio) was properly the cry with which 
the bride was greeted by her attendants on entering her new 
home, but it became a general expression of good wishes to 
the happy couple. Its origin is uncertain. Livy gives a 
quaint story to account for it (I. 9. 11 sq.). 



and straightway I felt that all the sickness had 
been driven from my enfeebled limbs; after which 
proof of heavenly protection I found quarters in 
a hired lodging, and even now I pen these words 
at intervals in my repose, for I am making rest 
my business for a little while. 10. Up till now 
I have not presented myself at the bustling doors 
of the Emperor and his courtiers, for I arrived 
here at the moment of the marriage of Ricimer the 
patrician, whose union with the daughter of the 
immortal Augustus is a hopeful guarantee of the 
safety of the state. ^ So for the present, amid 
this general rejoicing not merely of individuals 
but of classes and parties, the best course for 
your friend from over the Alps seemed to be to 
lie low, for at the very moment that I am writing 
this the shouts of " Thalassio " ^ according to Fescen- 
nine custom have hardly ceased to echo in every 
theatre, market-place, camp, law-court, church and 
playground ; on the other hand, the schools ^ are still 
silent, business is hushed, lawsuits are stilled, dele- 
gations from the provinces are adjourned, place- 
seeking takes a holiday, and while buffoons are 
making their merry jests all serious business seems 
to be away on its travels. 11. And now the bride 
has been given away, the bridegroom has put off 
his garland, the consular his embroidered robe, the 
brideswoman her gay mantle, the man of rank his 
toga, and the undistinguished citizen his cloak ; 
nevertheless, the full pomp of the bridal ceremony 
has not yet subsided, for the bride has not yet passed 
to her husband's home. When all this gaiety has 
run its course I will disclose to you the other struggles 

' Or possibly "factions," "political antagonisms." 



tamen vel consummata sollemnitas aliquando ter- 
minaverit istara totius civitatis occupatissimam 
vacationem. vale. 



1. Olim quidem scribere tibi concupiscebam, sed 
nunc vel maxime impellor, id est cum mihi ducens in 
urbem Christo propitiante via carpitur. scribendi 
causa vel sola vel maxima, quo te scilicet a profundo 
domesticae quietis extractum ad capessenda militiae 
Palatinae munia vocem. ... 2. his additur quod 
niunere dei tibi congruit aevi corporis animi vigor 
integer; dein quod equis, armis, veste sumptu 
famulicio instructus solum, nisi fallimur, incipere 
formidas et, cum sis alacer domi, in aggredienda pere- 
grinatione trepidum te iners desperatio facit; si 
tamen senatorii seminis homo, qui cotidie trabeatis 
proavorum imaginibus ingeritur, iuste dicere potest 
semet peregrinatum, si semel et in iuventa viderit 
domicilium legum, gymnasium litterarum, curiam 
dignitatum, verticem mundi, patriam libertatis, in 

♦ This letter is usually assigned to a.d. 455, when Sidonius 
was on his way to Rome in the train of Avitus, but it may 
have been written four or five years later, as Sidonius was 
again in Rome in the year 459 or (more probably) 460; see 
I. 11. 3 n. It seems to have had an immediate effect: 
see III. 6. There is no need to assume that either Eutropius or 
Sidonius held a public appointment under Avitus ; their " old 
partnership in the civil service," referred to in III. 6. 1, may 
well have been in the reign of Majorian. Eutropius rose to 
be Praetorian Prefect of Gaul under Anthemius. 

^ i.e. from Gaul to Rome. 


of my toilsome adventure, at least if sooner or later 
the completion of the celebration shall end this most 
busy holiday of a whole city. Farewell. 



1. I have long been wanting to wTite to you, but 
now I am especially drawn to do so at the moment 
when by the grace of Christ's atonement I am 
treading the path which leads to the City. My one 
reason — at any rate my chief one — is to draw you 
out from the depths of your domestic calm and 
to invite you to take up the duties of the Palatine 
imperial service. ... 2. Besides all this, you are 
by the favour of heaven in the prime of life, and 
possess strength of body and mind to correspond ; then 
you are well furnished with horses, armour, raiment, 
money and servants, and (unless I am wrong) you 
only dread beginning, and though you have an 
energetic spirit at home, an unenterprising nervous- 
ness makes you alarmed about attempting foreign 
travel ^ — if indeed a man of senatorial descent, who 
every day rubs shoulders with the figures of his 
ancestors arrayed in robes of state, ^ can fairly say 
that he has travelled to foreign parts, when once he 
has seen — and seen with the eyes of youth — the 
home of laws, the training-school of letters, the 
assembly-hall of high dignitaries, the head of the 
universe, the mother-city of liberty, the one 

' Sabinus, consul in a.d. 316, was an ancestor of Eutropiua : 
see III. 0. 3, and, for the meaning of Irabea, n. on Carm. XV. 


qua unica totius orbis civitate soli barbari et servi 
peregrinantur. 3. et nunc, pro pudor, si relinquare 
inter busequas rusticanos subulcosque ronchantes ! 
quippe si et campum stiva tremente proscindas aut 
prati floreas opes panda curvus falce populeris aut 
vineam palmite gravem cernuus rastris fossor in- 
vertas, tunc tibi est summa votorum beatitudo. 
quin potius expergiscere et ad maiora se pingui 
otio marcidus et enervis animus attollat. non 
minus est tuorum natalium viro personam suam ex- 
colere quam villam. 4. ad extremum, quod tu tibi 
iuventutis exercitium appellas, hoc est otium 
veteranorum, in quorum manibus effetis enses 
robiginosi sero ligone mutantur. esto, multiplicatis 
tibi spumabunt musta vinetis, innumeros quoque 
cumulos frugibus rupta congestis horrea dabunt, 
densum pecus gravidis uberibus in mulctram per 
antra olida caularum pinguis tibi pastor includet: 
quo spectat tam faeculento patrimonium promovisse 
compendio et non solum inter ista sed, quod est 
turpius, propter ista latuisse ? non nequiter te 
concilii tempore post sedentes censentesque iuvenes 
inglorium rusticum, senem stantem latitabundum 
pauperis honorati sententia premat, cum eos quos 

^ i.e. all who are not slaves or " barbarians" are citizens 
of Rome, so when in Rome they cannot be foreigners. 



community in the whole world in which only slaves 
and barbarians are foreigners.^ 3. And now, for 
shame if you are to be left behind amongst bumpkin 
cowmen and snorting swineherds ! If you can hold 
a shaky plough-handle and cut up the field, or if, 
stooping over the curved sickle, you can prune the 
flowery wealth of the meadow, or if as a down-bent 
delver you can turn up with your hoe the vineyard 
laden with heavy growth, that, forsooth, is the 
supreme happiness to which you aspire ! Nay, 
rouse yourself, and let your spirit, which is faint 
and nerveless through obese idleness, rise to greater 
things. A man of your birth must needs cultivate 
his reputation just as diligently as his farm. 4. To 
conclude, what you are pleased to call the drill of 
youth is properly the repose of veterans, in whose 
toil-worn hands rusted swords are exchanged for 
the mattock of old age. Granted that your vats 
will foam with the produce of your extended vine- 
yards, that your barns will show corn heaped in 
countless piles until they burst, that your well-fed 
shepherd will drive a crowded flock with full udders 
to the milking-pail through the odorous entrances 
of your sheep-folds : but of what use is it to have 
increased your inheritance by so dirty an economy 
and at the same time to have remained in obscurity 
not only amid such surroundings, but (what is more 
shameful) for the sake of them ^ Would it not be a 
wicked thing if on the day of assembly you in your 
old age were to stand behind your juniors while 
they are seated and taking part in the debate, — you 
an inglorious rustic shrinking from sight and bowing 
before the authoritative pronouncement of some 
poor man come to high place, having realised with 



esset indignum si vestigia nostra sequerentur videris 
dolens antecessisse ? 5. sed quid plura ? si pateris 
hortantem, conatuum tuorum socius adiutor, praevius 
particeps ero. sin autem inlecebrosis deliciarum 
cassibus involutus mavis, ut aiunt, Epicuri dogmatibus 
copulari, qui iactura virtutis admissa summum 
bonum sola corporis voluptate determinat, testor 
ecce maiores, testor posteros nostros huic me noxae 
non esse confinem. vale. 



1. Angit me casus Arvandi nee dissimulo quin 
angat. namque hie quoque cumulus accedit laudi- 
bus imperatoris, quod amari palam licet et capite 
damnatos. amicus homini fui supra quam morum 
eius facilitas varietasque patiebantur. testatur hoc 
propter ipsum nuper mihi invidia conflata, cuius me 
paulo incautiorem flamma detorruit. 2, sed quod 
in amicitia steti, mihi debui. porro autem in natura 
ille non habuit diligentiam perseverandi : libere 
queror, non insultatorie, quia fidelium consilia 
despiciens fortunae ludibrium per omnia fuit. 

* Nothing is known of this Vincentius. 
^ See Introd., p. xli. 



remorse that men, in whose case it would have been 
a scandal if they had even followed in our steps, 
have passed you in the race? 5. Well, what need 
to say more ? If you submit to these exhortations 
I am ready to be your comrade and helper, the 
guide and the partner of your efforts. If, how- 
ever, you let yourself be entangled in the tempting 
snares of luxur}' and prefer (as people say) to be 
tied up with the dogmas of Epicurus, who makes 
jettison of virtue and defines the supreme good in 
terms of bodily pleasure alone, then here and now I 
call our ancestors and our posterity to witness that I 
have nothing to do with such wickedness. Farewell. 



1. I am distressed by the fall of Arvandus ^ and 
do not conceal my distress; for it is the crowning 
glory of our Emperor that affection may be openly 
shown even for men condemned to death. I have 
shown myself this man's friend even more than his 
easy-going and unstable character justified, as is 
proved by the disfavour which has lately flared up 
against me on his account; for I have been rather 
too heedless and have scorched myself in its flame. 
2. But such steadfastness in friendship was a duty 
which I owed to myself. On the other hand, he 
never had in his disposition any firmness of principle ; 
and I complain of him frankly (but not spitefully) 
for scorning the advice of his loyal friends and 
so becoming the sport of fortune all through. 



denique non eum aliquando cecidisse sed tam diu 
stetisse plus miror. o quotiens saepe ipse se adversa 
perpessum gloriabatur, cum tamen nos ab adfectu 
profundiore ruituram eius quandoque temeritatem 
miseraremur, definientes non esse felicem qui hoc 
frequenter potius esse quam semper iudicaretur! 
3. sed damnationis ^ suae ordinem exposcis. salva 
fidei reverentia, quae amico debetur etiam adflicto, 
rem breviter exponam. praefecturam primam gu- 
bernavit cum magna popularitate consequentemque 
cum maxima populatione. pariter onere depressus 
aeris alieni metu creditorum successuros sibi opti- 
mates aemulabatur. omnium colloquia ridere, con- 
silia mirari, officia contemnere, pati de occurrentum 
raritate suspicionem, de adsiduitate fastidium, donee, 
odii publici mole vallatus et prius cinctus custodia 
quam potestate discinctus, captus destinatusque 
pervenit Romam, ilico tumens, quod prospero cursu 
procellosum Tuseiae litus enavigasset, tamquam sibi 
bene conscio ipsa quodammodo elementa famu- 
larentur. 4. in Capitolio custodiebatur ab hospite 
Flavio Asello, comite sacrarum largitionum, qui 
adhuc in eo semifumantem praefecturae nuper 
extortae dignitatem venerabatur. interea legati 
provinciae Galliae, Tonantius Ferreolus praefectorius, 
Afranii Syagrii consulis e filia nepos, Thaumastus 

^ dampnationis T : gubernationis. 

1 Minister of Finance. See Bury I. 51. 
* n. on Carm. 24. 34. 
» n. on Carm. 24. 36. 



In brief, I am not so much surprised that he has 
fallen at last as that he has held his own so long. 
How often he used to boast of himself as one who 
had often endured ill fortune, whilst we from a 
deeper feeling for him lamented that his reckless- 
ness must some day end in disaster, holding that a 
man is not fortunate if he is judged to be so only 
frequently, not always! 3. You ask me to tell the 
story of his condemnation. I will give you the facts 
shortly whilst paying all respect to the loyalty which 
is due even to a fallen friend. He conducted his 
first term as prefect with great approbation, his 
second with the greatest depredation. Moreover, 
he was oppressed by the burden of debt and, dread- 
ing his creditors, felt jealous of those nobles who were 
Ukely successors to liim. He mocked every one of them 
when they conversed \\ith him, professed astonish- 
ment at their suggestions, and ignored their services ; 
if only few sought to accost him he nursed suspicion, 
if many, contempt ; till in the end he was encircled 
by a wall of general antipathy, and was burdened 
by guards before he was disburdened of his office. 
He was arrested and brought in bonds to Rome, 
priding himself then and there on having sailed 
safely past the stormy coast of Tuscany, as though 
the elements were in some way submissive to him, 
recognising the clearness of his conscience. 4. He 
was kept under guard on the Capitol by his friend 
Flavius Asellus, Count of the Sacred Largesses,^ 
who respected the lingering aroma of the pre- 
fectorian dignity w^hich had just been wrested from 
him. Meanwhile the deputies of the province of 
Gaul, Tonantius Ferreolus,^ of prefectorian rank, 
grandson of the Consul Afranius Syagrius ^ through 



quoque et Petronius, maxima rerum verborumque 
scientia praediti et inter principalia patriae nostrae 
decora ponendi, praevium Arvandum publico nomine 
accusaturi cum gestis decretalibus insequuntur. 

5. qui inter cetera quae sibi provinciales agenda 
mandaverant interceptas litteras deferebant, quas 
Arvandi scriba correptus dominum dictasse profite- 
batur. haec ad regem Gothorum charta videbatur 
emitti, pacem cum Graeco imperatore dissuadens, 
Britannos supra Ligerim sitos impugnari oportere 
demonstrans, cum Burgundionibus iure gentium 
Gallias dividi debere confirmans, et in hunc ferme 
modum plurima insana, quae iram regi feroci, placido 
verecundiam inferrent. banc epistulam laesae maies- 
tatis crimine ardere iurisconsulti interpretabantur. 

6. me et Auxanium, praestantissimum virum, 
tractatus iste non latuit, qui Arvandi amicitias 
quoquo genere incursas inter ipsius adversa vitare 
perfidum barbarum ignavum computabamus. de- 
ferimus igitur nil tale metuenti totam per^niciter i> 
machinam, quam summo artificio acres et flammei 
viri occulere in tempus iudicii meditabantur, scilicet 

^ pemiciter machinam Lueijohann vix probabUiter: per(i)- 
machiam codd, fere omnes. 

1 n. on Carm. 24. 85. 

2 An eminent lawyer, vir inlustris. It was at his instance 
that Sidonius added Bk. VIII. to his collection of letters. 

2 Anthemius. 

* i.e. the Bretons of Aremorica : see Introd., p. xii, n. 1 . 
Euric soon acted in accordance with this advice of Arvandus 
{ib., p. xxviii). 

* i.e. make him ashamed of his inactivity, shame him out of 
his peacefulness. 



Iiis daughter, and Thaumastus ^ and Petronius,^ men 
possessed of ripe experience and consummate 
oratorical skill and entitled to rank amongst the 
chief glories of our native land, followed in his wake, 
carrying the official resolutions, having been ap- 
pointed to accuse him on behalf of the province. 
5. Amongst other pleas which the provincials had 
instructed them to urge, they were bringing against 
him an intercepted letter which Arvandus's secretary 
(who had been arrested) admitted to have been 
written at his master's dictation. It appeared to 
be a message addressed to the king of the Goths, 
dissuading him from peace with the " Greek 
Emperor," ^ insisting that the Britanni settled to 
the north of the Liger* should be attacked, and 
declaring that the Gallic provinces ought according 
to the law of nations to be divided up with the 
Burgundians, and a great deal more mad stuff in 
the same vein, fitted to rouse a warlike king 
to fury and a peaceful one to shame.^ The opinion 
of the lawyers was that this letter was red-hot 
treason. 6. These proceedings did not escape my 
excellent friend Auxanius ^ and myself, and we 
thought it would be disloyal, inhuman and cowardly 
to diso^vn our friendly relations with Arvandus in 
his time of danger, no matter how we had been 
drawn into them. So we promptly reported to 
the unfortunate man, who had no fear of anything 
of the sort, the whole machination, which his eager 
and fiery enemies were most cunningly planning 
to keep secret till the day of the trial ; for they knew, 

• This Auxanius afterwards adopted the monastic life, if, 
as is probable, he is the Auxanius mentioned in VII. 17. 4. 
His father had been Praetorian Prefect of Gaul (§ 7 below). 



ut adversarium incautum et consiliis sodalium 
repudiatis soli sibi temere fidentem professione 
responsi praecipitis involverent. dicimus ergo quid 
nobis, quid amicis secretioribus tutum putaretur; 
suademus nil quasi leve fatendum. si quid ab inimicis 
etiam pro levissimo flagitaretur: ipsam illam dis- 
simulationem tribulosissimam fore, quo facilius 
exitiosam suscitarent illi persuasionem securitatis.^ 

7. quibus agnitis proripit sese atque in convieia 
subita prorumpens : " abite degeneres," inquit, " et 
praefectoriis patribus indigni, cum hac superforanea 
trepidatione ; mihi, quia nihil intellegitis, banc ne- 
gotii partem sinite curandam; satis Arvando 
conscientia sua sufficit ; vix illud dignabor admittere, 
ut advocati mihi in actionibus repetundarum patro- 
cinentur." discedimus tristes et non magis iniuria 
quam maerore confusi ; quis enim niedicorum iure 
moveatur quotiens desperatum furor arripiat? 

8. inter haec reus noster aream Capitolinam per- 
currere albatus ; modo subdolis salutationibus pasci, 
modo crepantes adulationum bullas ut recognoscens 
libenter audire, modo serica et gemmas et pretiosa 
quaeque trapezitarum involucra rimari et quasi 
mercaturus inspicere prensare, depretiari ^ devolvere, 

^ exit. 8. i. p. 8, ego desperanter ; codices varie et gramter 
corrupti sunt. 

2 depretiari deponens a-n. Aey. : forlasse depretiare scriben- 
dum; cf. II. 10. 6, Cann. 22. 203. 

^ A broad esplanade on the top of the Capitoline Hill. 
About half-way along it was the historic temple of Jupiter. 
now a sad ruin owing to the recent Vandal depredations (a.d. 


of course, that their opponent was incautious, that 
lie iiad rejected the advice of his friends and was 
rashly trusting in his own powers, and so they hoped 
to entangle him in an avowal through some hasty 
reply. We told him, therefore, what we and his 
less open friends thought to be the safe course : we 
suggested to him that he should make no admission 
on the assumption that it was a trivial matter, even 
if his opponents in pressing him for it implied that it 
was the most trivial matter in the world : we warned 
him that that very pretence was going to be the most 
serious danger to him, its aim being to produce more 
easily in him a fatal sense of security. 7. When he 
realised our drift he started foi*w ard and in a moment 
burst into violent taunts: "Off with you, degen- 
erate cravens," he said, " unworthy of your prefect- 
fathers — off with you and your uncalled-for panic! 
Let me look after this side of the business, since you 
have no comprehension of it ; for Arvandus his con- 
sciousness of innocence is enough ; only with difficulty 
shall I bring myself even to allow advocates to defend 
me on the charge of extortion." We went away 
disheartened and upset, by grief more than by 
resentment; for what physician would have a right 
to become excited when a patient beyond hope of 
recovery is seized by a fit of madness ? 8. Mean- 
while our accused friend briskly parades the Capito- 
line Terrace ^ in festal dress ; now he gloats over 
various knavish salutations given him, now he listens 
with pleasure to the bursting bubbles of flattery, 
seeming to recognise them as his due ; again, he 
pries into silk wares, jewels and all the costly cases 
of the goldsmiths, and (as if he meant to make 
a purchase) scans them closely, snatches them 


VOL. I. P 


et inter agendum multum de legibus, de temporibus, 
de senatu, de principe queri, quod se non prius 
quam discuterent ulciscerentur. 9. pauci medii 
dies, et in tractatorio frequens senatus (sic post com- 
peri; nam inter ista discesseram). procedit noster 
ad curiam paulo ante detonsus pumicatusque, cum 
accusatores semipuUati atque concreti nuntios a 
decemviris opperirentur et ab industria squalidi 
praeripuissent reo debitam miserationem sub invidia 
sordidatorum. citati intromittuntur : partes, ut 
moris est, e regione consistunt. ofFertur prae- 
fectoriis ante propositionis exordium ius sedendi: 
Arvandus iam tunc infelici impudentia concito gradu 
mediis prope iudicum sinibus ingeritur; Ferreolus 
circumsistentibus latera collegis verecunde ac leviter 
in imo subselliorum capite consedit, ita ut non 
minus legatum se quam senatorem reminisceretur, 
plus ob hoc postea laudatus honoratusque. 10. dum 
haec, et qui procerum defuerant adfuerunt: con- 
surgunt partes legatique proponunt. epistula post 
provinciale mandatum, cuius supra mentio facta, 
profertur ; atque, cum sensim recitaretur, Arvandus 
necdum interrogatus se dictasse proclamat. re- 

^ Criminal charges against senators were at this time 
regularly judged by live senators chosen by lot, sitting under 
the presidency of the Prefect of the City. This limitation of 
number was apparently not enforced in cases of high 



up, disparages them and flings them back, and 
in the midst of this business makes frequent 
criticisms of the laws, the times, the Senate, and the 
Emperor for not vindicating him before investigating 
his case. 9. A few days elapsed, and then a full 
senate met in the Council Chamber (so I learned 
afterwards, for I had left Rome in the interval). 
Our man makes his way to the Senate-house, having 
shortly before been shaved and rubbed down, while 
his accusers, in half-mourning and unkempt, await 
a summons from the ten judges,^ having by their 
intentional squalor robbed the accused of his due 
sympathy, availing themselves of the indignation 
which the sight of men in the garb of sorrow 
arouses. They are summoned and admitted; the 
two sides take their positions as usual, one opposite 
the other. Those of prefectorian rank are offered, 
before the indictment is begun, the privilege of being 
seated. Arvandus, even thus early, with unhappy 
self-assertion makes a rush and seizes a place almost 
in the laps of his j udges ; on the other hand, Ferreolus 
takes his seat modestly and quietly at the lowest end 
of the benches with his colleagues standing on 
either side, thus showing that he remembered that 
he was a delegate as well as a senator; for which 
action he was afterwards all the more complimented 
and honoured. 10. Meanwhile those of the magnates 
who had not attended at the beginning arrived ; the 
opponents rose in their places and the delegates set 
out their case. After the commission from the 
province the letter which we have mentioned above 
was produced. It was being slowly read when 
Arvandus, without waiting to be questioned, cried 
out that he had dictated it. The delegates replied 



spondere legati, quamquam valde nequiter, constaret 
quod ipse dictasset. at ubi se furens ille quantumque 
caderet ignarus bis terque repetita confessione 
transfodit, acclamatur ab accusatoribus, conclamatur 
a iudicibus reum laesae maiestatis confitentem teneri. 
ad hoc et milibus formularum iuris id sancientum 
iugulabatur. 11. turn demum laboriosus tarda 
paenitudine loquacitatis impalluisse perhibetur, sero 
cognoscens posse reum maiestatis pronuntiari etiam 
eum qui non adfectasset habitum purpuratorum. 
confestim privilegiis geminae praefecturae, quam per 
quinquennium repetitis fascibus rexerat, exaugura- 
tus et, plebeiae famiiliae non ut additus sed ut red- 
ditus, publico carceri adiudicatus est. illud sane 
aerumnosissimum, sicuti narravere qui viderant, 
quod, quia se sub atratis accusatoribus exornatum 
ille politumque iudicibus intulerat, paulo post, cum 
duceretur addictus, miser nee miserabilis erat. quis 
enim super statu eius nimis inflecteretur, quem 
videret accuratum delibutumque lautumiis aut 

1 Arvandus, with his wide legal experience, cannot have 
been as ignorant as Sidonius supposes. The reason of his 
astounding confidence may have been that Ricimer had 
secretly supported his treasonable designs and Arvandus 
counted on his potent help. See Stevens, pp. 106 fif. (though 
he, like Hodgkin, II. 464, inadvertently takes adfect. hab. 
purp. to mean " had assumed the purple "). 

2 It was common, perhaps usual, for a person condemned 
on his own confession to be committed to prison while awaiting 
sentence. Sidonius seems to imply that if Arvandus had not 
been a parvenu he would have been put under a milder form 
of custody, being committed to the charge of one or two 
persons pledged to produce him at the right time. 


(very mischievously, indeed) that it should be taken 
as an agreed point that he had dictated it. But 
when the madman, not realising his blunder, re 
peated his avowal two or three times and so dealt 
himself his death-blow, the accusers raised a shout 
in which the judges joined, declaring that the 
accused was guilty of high treason on his owti con- 
fession. Besides this, thousands of legal precedents 
sanctioning the extreme penalty were aimed at his 
throat. 11. Then, and not till then, it is reported, 
did he show distress. His face grew pale as he 
tardily regretted his talkativeness, realising all too 
late that a man could be declared guilty of high 
treason even although he had not aspired to the 
purple.^ He was instantly deprived by solemn 
procedure of the privileges appertaining to the 
double prefectship, which he had held by reappoint- 
ment for five years, and he was consigned to the 
state prison as one not degraded but rather restored 
to a plebeian family. ^ The bitterest affliction of all 
(as those who watched the scene have related) was 
that, because he had marched into the presence of 
his judges elegantly dressed and groomed whilst his 
accusers were in dark clothing, the pitiable plight in 
which he appeared only a little later evoked no pity, 
as he was dragged off to prison after his commitment. 
For who would distress himself greatly about the 
position of one whom he saw being carried off to 
the quarries or the convict-prison ^ punctiliously 

' Ergastula were slave-prisons, where slaves chosen for hard, 
rough labour (often as a punishment) were quartered, being 
chained at night and sometimes even working in chains. 
Under the Empire there were public ergastula, to which con- 
victs as well as slaves were sent. 



ergastulo inferri ? 12. sed et iudicio vix per hebdo- 
madam duplicem comperendinato capite multatus in 
insulam coniectus est serpentis Epidauri, ubi usque 
ad inimicorum dolor em devenustatus et a rebus 
humanis veluti vomitu fortunae nauseantis exsputus 
nunc ex vetere senatus consulto Tiberiano triginta 
dierum vitam post sententiam trahit, uncum et 
Gemonias et laqueum per horas turbulenti camificis 
horrescens. 13. nos quidem, prout valemus, absentes 
praesentesque vota facimus, preces supplicationes- 
que geminamus, ut suspense ictu iam iamque 
mucronis exserti pietas Augusta seminecem quam- 
quam publicatis bonis vel exsilio muneretur. illo 
tamen, seu exspectat extrema quaeque seu sustinet, 
infelicius nihil est, si post tot notas inustas contume- 
liasque aliquid nunc amplius quam vivere timet, 

^ Sed et is not very clear. The meaning seems to be: 
" but he was actually {et) sentenced to death (not merely to 
the quarries or the convict-prison)." 

* The Insula Tiberina, on which stood a temple of Aescu- 

3 Under Tiberius the period was ten days. A law of 
Theodosius, which allowed a reprieve of thirty days in the case 
of an Imperial sentence, presumably caused a similar extension 
in the case of the senatorial courts. 


BOOK I. VII. TO vincp:ntius 

dressed and perfumed? 12. But he, indeed,^ 
after an adjournment of the sentence for a 
bare fortnight, was sentenced to death and flung 
into prison in the island of the Serpent of Epi- 
daurus,^ where he has been stripped of his 
elegance to a point at which even his opponents are 
distressed ; and having been spewed out of society 
as though fortune threw him up in a fit of sickness, 
he is now dragging out the period of thirty days 
after his sentence as fixed by an ancient senatus 
consultum of the Emperor Tiberius,^ living in hourly 
terror of the hook, the Stairs,* and the noose of a 
savage^ executioner. 13. As for us, whether at Rome 
or away from it, we offer vows and reiterate prayers 
and supplications to the extent of our powers, 
entreating that the Imperial generosity may, even 
at the cost of the confiscation of his property or 
exile, show favour to this half-dead man by holding 
back the stroke of the sword which threatens every 
moment to be loosed upon him. But as for him, 
whether he is now waiting for the worst or already 
enduring it, he is certainly the most hapless of beings 
if with the brand of all those ignominies and humilia- 
tions upon him there is anything he now dreads 
more than life. Farewell. 

* The Scalae Gemoniae were on the Capitoline slope, near 
the old prison, but their exact position is uncertain. To 
these stairs the executioner dragged by a hook the bodies of 
criminals, which were exposed there for some days and then 
dragged to the Tiber. 

• Sidonius uses turbiUentiis in the sense of truculentus. 





1 . Morari me Romae congratularis ; id tamen 
quasi facete et fatigationum salibus admixtis : ais 
enim gaudere te quod aliquando necessarius tuus 
videam solem, quern utique perraro bibitor Araricus 
inspexerim. nebulas enim mihi meorum Lugdu- 
nensium exprobras et diem quereris nobis matutina 
caligine obstructum vix meridiano fervore reserari. 
2. et tu istaec mihi Caesenatis furni potius quam 
oppidi verna deblateras? de cuius natalis tibi soli 
vel iucunditate vel commodo quid etiam ipse sentires. 
dum migras iudicavisti ;^ ita tamen quod te Ravennae 
felicius exsulantem auribus Padano culice perfossis 
municipalium ranarum loquax turba circumsilit. 
in qua palude indesinenter rerum omnium lege 
perversa muri cadunt aquae stant, turres fluunt 
naves sedent, aegri deambulant medici iacent, 
algent balnea domicilia conflagrant, sitiunt vivi 
natant sepulti, vigilant fares dormiunt potestates, 

^ indicasti F. 

* Gandidianus is not mentioned elsewhere. 
^ Modem Cesena, on the Via Aemilia, about 20 miles N.W. 
of Ariminum. 





1. You congratulate me on being still in Rome, 
but you do so in a witty sort of way and 
with a spice of banter, for you say you are de- 
lighted that I, a friend of yours, have at last got a 
view of the sun, which, as one who drank of the 
Arar, I have seen (you say) at all events very seldom. 
You bring up against me the fogs of my country- 
men of Lugdunum and complain that with us the 
daylight is shut out by morning mist and scarcely 
revealed later by midday heat. 2. And do you talk 
this balderdash to me, you a native of Caesena,^ 
which is an oven rather than a town? You have 
shown your own opinion of the attractiveness and 
amenities of that natal soil of yours by quitting it, 
though in your happier existence as an exile at 
Ravenna your ears are pierced by the mosquitoes 
of the Padus, and a chattering company of your 
fellow-burghers the frogs ^ keeps jumping about on 
every side of you. In that marshland the laws of 
nature are continually turned upside down; the 
walls fall and the waters stand, towers float and 
ships are grounded, the sick promenade and the 
physicians lie abed, the baths freeze and the houses 
bum, the living go thirsty and the buried swim, 
thieves keep vigil and authorities sleep, clerics prac- 

* The frogs of Ravenna are mentioned by Martial, III. 93. 8. 
For a few of the features about to be mentioned cf. I. 6. 6. 
It is impossible to see the point of all the remarks in thi.s 
section; no doubt they are much exaggerated. 



faenerantur clerici Syri psallunt, negotiatores mili- 
tant milites^ negotiantur, student pilae senes aleae 
iuvenes, armis eunuchi litteris foederati. 3. tu vide 
qualis sit civitas ubi tibi lar familiaris incolitur, quae 
facilius territorium potuit habere quam terram. 
quocirca memento innoxiis Transalpinis esse par- 
cendum, quibus caeli sui dote contentis non grandis 
gloria datur si deteriorum coUatione clarescant. 



1. Post nuptias patricii Ricimeris, id est post 
imperii utriusque opes eventilatas, tandem reditum 

1 monachi LNTV. 

2 herenio LNTR. 

^ Canon law strictly forbade the clergy to practise usury. 

2 Syrians took a prominent part in trading and in financial 
operations all over the Empire. It may be that at this time, 
at least in Gaul, the word Syrus was used in the special sense 
of " banker " or " money-lender " : see Friedlaender, Sitten- 
geschichte,^^ I. 378, who compares the mediaeval use of " Lom- 
bard." With reference to the present passage Hodgkin (I, 
861, n. 1) ingeniously suggests that there may be an allusion 
to a tradition that " all the bishops of Ravenna for the first 
four centuries were of Syrian extraction." This seems very 

' In the later Empire the trading classes were excluded by 
law from the army and from the civil service, and, on the other 


tise usury ^ and Syrians ^ sing psalms, business 
men go soldiering and soldiers do business,^ the 
old go in for ball-playing and the young for dicing, 
the eunuchs for arms and the federates * for culture. 
3. I bid you look at the nature of the city where 
you have established your hearth and home, a city 
which found it easier to secure territory than to 
secure terra jirma. So mind that you spare the 
harmless dwellers beyond the Alps, for they are 
quite content with the climate with which they 
have been endowed, and it is no great glory for 
them if they should shine by comparison with those 
that are worse. Farewell. 



1. Since the wedding of the patrician Ricimer, that 
is to say after the wealth of two empires has been 

hand, soldiers might not go into trade — though some laxity 
seems to have been allowed in their case. The juxtaposition 
of milites seems to show that militare is here used of serv^ice 
in the army, not, as was usual in this period, of a post in the 
civil service. For milites some MSS. read monachi (" monks "), 
which deprives the sentence of all point. Probably milites 
was accidentally omitted in the archetype because of its 
similarity to mililani (this is a common form of scribal error); 
then someone, noticing that a noun was wanted, stupidly 
inserted monachi (perhaps suggested by clerici in the preceding 

* For the meaning of foederati see Introd., p. x, n. 2. The 
reference here is presumably to the federate troops of the 

* A continuation of the account begun in No. 5. The date 
of the letter is a.d. 468. 



est in publicam serietatem, quae rebus actitandis 
ianuam campumque patefecit. interea nos Pauli 
praefectorii tarn doctrina quam sanctitate venerandis 
laribus except! comiter blandae hospitalitatis officiis 
excolebamur. porro non isto quisquam viro est 
in omni artium genere praestantior. deus bone, 
quae ille propositionibus aenigmata, sententiis 
schemata, versibus commata, digitis mechanemata 
facit ! illud tamen in eodem studiorum omnium 
culmen antevenit, quod habet huic eminenti scientiae 
conscientiam superiorem. igitur per hunc primum, 
si quis quoquo modo in aulam gratiae aditus, exploro ; 
cum hoc confero, quinam potissimum procerum 
spebus valeret nostris opitulari. 2. nee sane multa 
cunctatio, quia pauci de quorum eligendo patrocinio 
dubitaretur. erant quidem in senatu plerique 
opibus culti genere sublimes, aetate graves consilio 
utiles, dignitate elati dignatione communes, sed 
servata pace reliquorum duo fastigatissimi consulares, 
Gennadius Avienus et Caecina Basilius, prae ceteris 
conspiciebantur. hi in amplissimo ordine seposita 
praerogativa partis armatae facile post purpuratum 
principera principes erant. sed inter hos quoque 

^ Gennadius Avienus belonged to the family of the Connni 
(§ 4). He was consul in a.d. 450. In 452 he accompanied 
Pope Leo I. and Trygetius as ambassador to Attila. 

2 riavius Caecina Decius Maximus Basilius was Praetorian 
Prefect of Italy under Majorian (a.d. 458) and again under 
Severus (463-5) ; he was consul in a.d. 463. 

^ This refers not only to the personal predominance of 
Ricimer but to the marked tendency under his regime to exalt 
the military class {i.e. the holders, or former holders, of one 
of the high military offices) over the class of civil functionaries; 
for example, an ex-consul who belonged to the military class 
took precedence over other ex-consuls in the senatorial order. 
See Stein, p. 563. 


scattered to the winds, there has been a reversion to 
seriousness in public affairs, and this has opened a door 
and a field for the transaction of business. Mean- 
while I had been welcomed in the home of Paulus, 
a man of prefectorian rank, — a home venerable for 
its learning as well as for its virtuousness, where I 
was receiving the kindly attentions of a genial 
hospitality. Besides, there is not a man anywhere 
more excellent than he in every department of 
culture. Kind heaven ! With what ingenious subtle- 
ties he sets forth his theme ! What apt figures adorn 
his thoughts, what nicely-measured phrases divide 
his verses, what works of art he creates ^^'ith his 
fingers ! And better still is the coping-stone of all his 
studies, namely, that he has a conscience which sur- 
passes his brilliant erudition. And so he was the first 
friend through whom I sought to ascertain whether 
there was any possible way of approach to gain the 
favour of the court ; ^^ith him I debated the question 
who in particular amongst the influential people 
would be able to aid my expectations. 2. There 
was really little hesitation about this, for there 
were very few whose claims as possible protectors 
were worth weighing. Certainly there were many in 
the Senate who were blessed with wealth and exalted 
in lineage, reverend in years and helpful in counsel, 
elevated by their dignity and yet accessible through 
their condescension ; but (with all due respect to the 
rest) two consulars of the highest distinction, Gen- 
nadius Avienus^ and Caecina Basilius,^ were conspicu- 
ous above their fellows. In the most elevated rank, 
if we leave out of account the privileged military class,^ 
they stood easily next to the Emperor in the purple. 
But when we compare the two men we find even in 



quamquam stupendi tamen varii mores et genii 
potius quam ingenii similitudo. fabor namque super 
his aliqua succinctius. 3. Avienus ad consulatum 
felicitate, Basilius virtute pervenerat. itaque digni- 
tatum in Avieno iucunda velocitas, in Basilio sera 
numerositas praedicabatur. utrumque quidem, si 
fors laribus egrediebantur, artabat clientum praevia 
pedisequa circumfusa populositas ; sed longe in 
paribus dispares sodalium spes et spiritus erant. 
Avienus, si quid poterat, in filiis generis fratribus 
provehendis moliebatur ; cumque semper domesticis 
candidatis distringeretur, erga expediendas forinse- 
cus ambientum necessitates minus valenter efficax 
erat. 4. et in hoc Corvinorum familiae Deciana 
praeferebatur, quod qualia impetrabat cinctus 
Avienus suis, talia conferebat Basilius discinctus 
alienis. Avieni animus totis et cito, sed infructuosius, 
Basilii paucis et sero, sed commodius aperiebatur. 
neuter aditu difficili, neuter sumptuoso; sed si 
utrumque coluisses, facilius ab Avieno familiari- 
tatem, facilius a Basilio beneficium consequebare. 
5. quibus diu utrimque libratis id tractatus mutuus 
temperavit, ut reservata senioris consularis 
reverentia, in domum cuius nee nimis rare venti- 

^ genii . . . ingenii. See nn. on Carm. 2. 191 and 10. 20. 
* Notes 1 and 2 on p. 384 will make this reference clear. 



their case that their characters, though both extra- 
ordinary, are nevertheless different, and there is more 
Hkeness in their dignity than in their disposition.^ I 
>vin make some brief remarks about them. 3. Avienus 
had reached the consulship by good fortune, Basilius by 
his personal merit ; so in the case of Avienus people 
commonly remarked upon the happy rapidity of his 
dignities and in the case of Basilius upon their tardy 
multiplicity. When either of them happened to go 
out of doors, he was encircled by a swarming mass of 
clients who preceded him, followed him, or walked at 
his side ; but though so far there was likeness, the 
ambitions and tone of the two companies were very 
unlike. Avienus, so far as his influence extended, 
exerted himself in promoting his sons, sons-in-law, 
and cousins; and as he was always busy with 
candidates from his o^vn family, he was less 
helpful in meeting the wants of place-seekers 
outside his circle. 4. A further reason which made 
the Decian clan preferable to that of the Cor- 
vini ^ was that such favours as Avienus when in 
office obtained for his relatives Basilius even 
when out of office bestowed on outsiders. Avienus 
revealed his mind to all, speedily but rather un- 
profitably ; Basilius did so to few and tardily, but 
more beneficially. It was not difficult or expensive 
to get access to either of them ; but if you sought 
the company of both you were more likely to get 
good-fellowship from Avienus and good deeds from 
Basilius. 5. When we had carefully weighed the 
considerations in favour of each, the discussion 
between us arrived at this compromise, that while 
still paying due respect to the elder consular, at 
whose house I was indeed a fairly frequent visitor, 



tabamus, Basilianis potius frequentatoribus appli- 
caremur. ilicet, dum per hunc amplissimum virum 
aliquid de legationis Arvernae petitionibus elabora- 
mus, ecce et Kalendae lanuariae, quae August! 
consulis mox futuri repetendum fastis nomen 
opperiebantur. 6. tunc patronus : " heia," inquit, 
" SoUi meus, quamquam suscepti officii onere pres- 
saris, exseras volo in obsequium novi consulis 
veterem Musam votivum quippiam vel tumultuariis 
fidibus carminantem. praebebo admittendo aditum 
recitaturoque solacium recitantique suffragium. si 
quid experto credis, multa tibi seria hoc ludo pro- 
movebuntur. " parui ego praeceptis, favorem ille 
non subtraxit iniunctis et impositae devotionis 
adstipulator invictus egit cum consule meo, ut me 
praefectum faceret senatui suo. 7. sed tu, ni fallor, 
epistulae perosus prolixitatem voluptuosius nunc 
opusculi ipsius relegendis versibus inmorabere. scio, 
atque ob hoc carmen ipsum loquax in consequentibus 
charta deportat, quae pro me interim, dum venio, 
diebus tibi pauculis sermocinetur. cui si examinis 
tui quoque puncta tribuantur, aeque gratum mihi 

^ These words show that Sidonius was not the only 
delegate, though he must have been the leader of the 
mission. Letter V. makes it clear that he had not travelled 
along with his colleagues. 

2 i.e. as Praefectus Vrbi. 

' The Panegyric on Anthemius, Carmen II. 



I should attach myself more particularly to the train 
of Basilius. Well, while by the aid of this most 
distinguished man I was devising some move in the 
matter of the petitions of the Arvernian deputa- 
tion,^ lo and behold ! the Kalends of January also 
loomed before us, the day on which the second 
appearance of Augustus on the list of chief magis- 
trates was due, for our Emperor was about to become 
consul. 6. Then my patron said, " Come on, my dear 
SoUius, though you are sorely busied with the burden 
of the commission you have undertaken, I wish that 
you would, in humble duty to the new consul, draw 
out your old Muse from her retirement, and get her 
to chant some expression of good wishes, even if 
she has to strike up a hastily-improvised strain. 1 
will give you the entry by passing you in, I will 
give you assistance when you are called on to read 
and support as you go on. Believe me as a man 
of experience, many serious concerns of yours will 
be greatly advanced by this sportive performance." 
I complied with his instructions, and he did not 
withdraw his support from the work he had charged 
me with; he gave his personal and irresistible 
backing to the tribute imposed upon me, and pressed 
the consul whose praises I had sung to appoint me 
as president of his Senate.^ 7. However, unless I 
am mistaken, you are bored with the length of my 
letter, and will find it more pleasurable ot this point 
to pass your time in reading the verses of the actual 
composition.^ I understand, and accordingly this 
garrulous sheet carries you the poem itself added 
at the tail-end, to hold conversation with you on 
my behalf for a few days, until I arrive. And if it 
should get good marks from your examination also, 


ac si me in comitio vel inter rostra contionante ad 
sophos meum non modo lati clavi sed tribulium 
quoque fragor concitaretur. sane moneo praeque de- 
nuntio quisquilias ipsas^ Clius tuae hexametris minime 
exaeques. merito enim oonlata vestris mea carmina 
non heroicorum phaleris sed epitaphistarum neniis 
comparabuntur. 8. attamen gaude quod hie ipse 
panegyricus etsi non iudicium certe eventum boni 
operis accepit. quapropter, si tamen tetrica sunt 
amoenanda iocularibus, volo paginam glorioso, id est 
quasi Thrasoniano fine concludere Plautini Pyrgo- 
polinicis imitator. igitur cum ad praefecturam 
sub ope Christi stili occasione pervenerim, iuberis 
scilicet^ pro potestate cinctuti undique omnium 
laudum convasatis acclamationibus ad astra portare, 
si placeo, eloquentiam, si displiceo, felicitatem. 
videre mihi videor ut rideas, quia perspicis nostram 
cum milite comico ferocisse iactantiam. vale. 

^ istas Luetjohann frustra ; vid. Mohrii praef. p. xiv. 
* iuberis scilicet ego : iubeas ilicet NCT : iubeo te scilicet 



that will be as acceptable to me as if I were holding 
forth in the Comitium or on the public platform and 
the clamour not only of the grandees but also of the 
humble citizens were breaking out in a "Bravo!" for 
me. I do indeed warn you and give you clear notice 
that you are on no account to compare this rubbish of 
mine with the hexameters of your epic Muse ; for my 
strains, if compared with yours, will justly seem to 
resemble the dirges of tombstone-poets rather than 
the splendour of heroic bards. 8. Still, I want you to 
rejoice that this same panegyric, if it has not won 
critical approval, has at any rate had the practical 
success of a fine composition. Therefore, if serious 
subjects really ought to be brightened by jesting, 
I should like to finish off this column with an ending 
in a boastful tone, a Thraso-like ending,^ in fact, 
and to become an imitator of the Pyrgopolinices of 
Plautus. So since I have, with Christ's help, been 
promoted to the Prefectship by the timely use of 
my pen, you must know that you are commanded 
by ministerial authority to heap together all the 
plaudits of all the praises in the world, and to exalt 
to the skies my eloquence if you are pleased with 
my work, my good fortune if you are dissatisfied 
with it. I can imagine myself seeing how you 
laugh on realising that my arrogance has gone wild 
in company with the soldier of the comedy. Fare- 

^ Thraso and Pyrgopolinices are two boastful soldiers of 
Latin comedy, the former in the Eumichus of Terence, the 
latter in the Miles CHoriosus of Plautus. 




1. Accepi per praefectum annonae litteras tuas, 
quibus eum tibi sodalem veterem mihi insinuas 
iudici novo, gratias ago magnas illi, maximas tibi, 
quod statuistis de amicitia mea vel praesumere tuta 
vel inlaesa credere, ego vero notitiam viri familiari- 
tatemque non solum volens sed et avidus amplector, 
quippe qui noverim nostram quoque gratiam hoc 
obsequio meo fore copulatiorem. 2. sed et tu 
vigilantiae suae me, id est famae meae statum 
causamque commenda. vereor autem ne famem 
populi Romani theatralis caveae fragor insonet et 
infortunio meo publica deputetur esuries. sane 
hunc ipsum e vestigio ad portum mittere paro, quia 
comperi naves quinque Brundisio profectas cum 
speciebus tritici ac mellis ostia Tiberina tetigisse ; 
quarum onera exspectationi plebis, si quid strenue 
gerit, raptim faciet offerri, commendaturus se mihi, 
me populo, utrumque tibi. vale. 

* Nothing further is known of Campanianus. The date of 
the letter is a.d. 468. 

1 The Praefectus Annonae worked under the Prefect of the 
City, who was ultimately responsible for the food-supply of 

" Probably in a double sense. Sidonius in his new office of 



1. I have received your letter by the Prefect of 
the Food-Supply ; ^ in it you commend him as an 
old comrade of yours to me as a new judge. ^ I 
thank him heartily and you most heartily that you 
have both decided either to count on my friend- 
ship's being safe or at least to beHeve that nothing 
has yet impaired it. For my part I accept the 
acquaintance and intimacy of your excellent friend 
not only with readiness but with enthusiasm, for I 
feel sure that our own mutual liking will become 
closer through this compliance on my part. 2. How- 
ever, I should wish you also to recommend to his 
vigilance my own self, that is to say, the upholding 
and defence of my reputation. For I am afraid 
that the uproar of the theatre-benches may sound 
the cry of " starvation in Rome," and that the 
general famine may be put down to my luckless 
management. In fact I am proposing to send this 
very man down to the harbour without a moment's 
delay, for I have been informed that five ships 
hailing from Brundisium have reached the mouth 
of the Tiber with food-stuffs in the shape of wheat 
and honey ; and if he is at all businesc-like he will 
see that their cargoes are promptly placed at the 
service of the expectant population. By so doing 
he will commend himself to me, me to the people, 
and both of us to yourself. Farewell. 

Prefect of the City is a " new judge " ; he is also invited to be 
a fresh judge of the character of the praefectus annonae. 





1. Petis tibi, vir disertissime, Sequanos tuos 
expetituro satiram nescio quam, si sit a nobis per- 
scripta, transmitti. quod quidem te postulasse 
demiror; non enim sanctum est ut de moribus 
amici cito perperam sentias. huic eram themati 
scilicet incubaturus id iam agens otii idque habens 
aevi, quod iuvenem militantemque dictasse prae- 
sumptiosum fuisset, publicasse autem periculosum? 
cui namque grammaticum vel salutanti Calaber ille 
non dixit : 

" si mala condiderit in quem quis carmina, ius est 
iudiciumque " ? 

2. sed ne quid ultra tu de sodali simile credas, quid 
f uerit illud quod me sinistrae rumor ac fumus opinio- 
nis adflavit longius paulo sed ab origine exponam. 

* Montius is not otherwise known. The incident here 
related is referred to in Carm. 12. 22; see note on that poem. 
The beginning of the letter seems to show that it was written 
very soon after the occurrence, the date of which is a.d. 461. 

^ The point of perscripta will be made clear in § 8. 

2 This sentence raises problems even when correctly 
construed, but it has been grossly abused through inattention 
to the Latin ; for example, one of the ablest of recent writers 
on Sidonius infers from it that Sidonius still held a government 
appointment ("was still militans ") when he wrote the letter. 
Sidonius, who was little, if at all, over thirty at the time, play- 
fully speaks as if his days of youth and official life were far 
behind him. He had recently retired from a government 
post in Rome (see § 3, recenti commilitio, and note on the 
passage) and had gone back to Auvergne (§ 4). Now he 
assumes the pose of a retired old fogey and talks airily of the 





1. You ask me, my most eloquent friend, now 
that you mean to visit your countrymen the Sequani, 
to send you some satire or other, if I have finished 
it.^ Now I am much surprised that you have 
made such a request ; for it is not decent of you so 
quickly to believe the worst of a friend's character. 
So you supposed, did you, that I was likely, after 
reaching such an age and retiring from active life, 
to spend pains upon a literary effort which in my 
young days, when I was in the government service, 
it would have been audacious for me to have com- 
posed and dangerous for me to have published ?2 
Who that has even a nodding acquaintance with 
the schoolmaster has not been told by the poet of 
Calabria ; 

" If ribald verse besmirch an honest name. 
The law shall see the offender put to shame " ? * 

2. However, to prevent you from entertaining such 
notions in future about your comrade, I will risk being 
rather long and tell from the beginning the whole 
story of the suspicion that was thrown on me by the 
chatter and smoke of malicious gossip. Under the 

days when he was a young man in the civil service. Even if 
we take this to refer to some post under Avitus, about five years 
before the incident related in this letter, it is a jesting 
absurdity; but it may well refer to the recens ccnnmUitium of 
§ 3. Thus the present passage throws no real light on the 
official career of Sidonius. 
3 Horace, Sat. II. 1. 82 sq. 



temporibus Aiigusti Maioriani venit in medium 
charta comitatum, sed carens indice, versuum plena 
satiricorum mordacium, sane qui satis invectivaliter 
abusi nominum nuditate carpebant plurimum vitia,. 
plus homines, inter haec fremere Arelatenses, quo 
loci res agebatur, et quaerere quem poetarum publici 
furoris merito pondus urgeret, his maxime auctoribus 
quos notis certis auctor incertus exacerbaverat. 
3. accidit casu ut CatuUinus inlustris tunc ab Arvernis 
illo veniret, cum semper mihi tum praecipue com- 
militio recenti familiaris; saepe enim cives magis 
amicos peregrinatio facit. igitur insidias nescienti 
tam Paeonius quam Bigerrus has tetenderunt, ut 
plurimis coram tamquam ab incauto sciscitarentur, 
hoc novum carmen an recognosceret. et ille : " si 
dixeritis." cumque frusta diversa quasi per iocum 
efFunderent, solvitur CatulHnus in risum intempesti- 
voque sufFragio clamare coepit dignum poema quod 
perennandum apicibus auratis iuste tabula rostralis 

1 Carm. 12 is addressed to him. In the superscription of 
that poem CatulHnus is described as vir darissimus (V. C.)- 
He must have become inlustris before this letter was 
revised for publication, and Sidonius has punctiliously in- 
serted his latest title, thus committing an unconscious 
anachronism. For the meaning of inlustris and clarissimus 
see note on § 6 below. 

2 No unprejudiced reader of this sentence could fail to 
conclude that Sidonius and CatuUinus had held posts in the 
civil service at a very recent date, i.e. in 459 or (more probably) 
460; but some scholars push the rectus commilitium back five 


government of the Emperor Majorian there came into 
circulation in the court a sheet with no label 
attached, full of satirical and biting Hnes, actually 
making the most savage use of undisguised names, 
and attacking vices a great deal but men still 
more. At this the people of Arelate, which was 
the scene of the incident, began to rage and to 
cast about among our poets in order to discover 
which of them deserved to bear the brunt of 
the general indignation. The chief instigators of 
this inquiry were the infuriated victims whose 
identity this mysterious poet had revealed by 
indications that were no mystery. 3. It so happened 
that the Illustrious CatuUinus ^ arrived at that time 
from Auvergne. He had always been my friend, 
and at that moment was particularly intimate with 
me, as we had recently been partners in the public 
service; 2 for a sojourn abroad ^ often makes fellow- 
citizens better friends. Well, Paeonius and Bigerrus * 
together laid a trap for my unsuspecting friend. 
Designedly taking him off his guard, they asked him 
before a number of witnesses whether he recognised 
this new poem. " If you would be good enough to 
recite it," said he. They proceeded to spout sundry 
fragments as if it were all a jest; CatuUinus burst 
into laughter, and with unseasonable approbation 
cried out that the poem deserved by right to be 
immortalised by being inscribed on a plate in 
letters of gold, to be set up on the Rostra or 

years or more, to the time of Avitus. The whole wording of 
the sentence is patently against this. 

* For peregrinari used of an inhabitant of Gaul who goes 
to Rome compare I. 6. 2. 

* All that is known of Paeonius is contained in this letter; 
Bigerrus is otherwise unknown. 



acciperet aut etiam Capitolina. 4. Paeonius exarsit, 
cui satiricus ille morsum dentis igniti avidius impres- 
serat, atque ad adstantes circulatores : " iniuriae 
communis," inquit, " iam reiim inveni. videtis ut 
Catullinus deperit risu : apparet ei nota memorari. 
nam quae causa festinam compulit praecipitare 
sententiam, nisi quod iam tenet totum, qui de parte 
sic iudicat ? atqui ^ Sidonius nunc in Arverno est ; 
unde coUigitur auctore illo,isto auditore rem textam." 
itur in furias inque convicia absentis nescientis 
innocentisque ; conscientiae, fidei, quaestioni nil 
reservatur. sic levis turbae facilitatem qua voluit 
et traxit ^ persona popularis. 5. erat enim ipse 
Paeonius populi totus, qui tribuniciis flatibus crebro 
seditionum pelagus impelleret. ceterum si re- 
quisisses : "qui genus, unde domo ? ", non eminentius 
quam municipaliter natus quemque inter initia 
cognosci claritas vitrici magis quam patris fecerit, 
identidem tamen per fas nefasque crescere adfectans 
pecuniaeque per avaritiam parcus, per ambitum 
prodigus. namque ut familiae superiori per filiam 
saltim quamquam honestissimam iungeretur, contra 
rigorem civici moris splendidam, ut ferunt, dotem 
Chremes noster Pamphilo suo dixerat. 6. cumque 

1 atqui Mohr : itaque. 

* et traxit L : contraxit. Fortasse attraxit (Luetjohann). 

1 This may be (as has been suggested) a reference to the 
fact that some of Nero's verses were inscribed in gold letters 
and dedicated to Capitoline Jove (Suet. Ner. 10) ; but among 
the Romans the idea is older than the age of Nero (see Tac. 
Ann. III. 57 and 59, passages unknown to the Thesaurus^ 
s.v. aureus), and we are told that the Greeks set up three of 
Chilon's wise sayings in letters of gold at Delphi (Plin. N.H. 
VII. 119). « Verg. Am. VIII. 114. 

* Pamphilus married the daughter of Chremes. The dowry 
was 10 talents (Terence, Andria, 950 sq.). 


even on the Capitol.^ 4. Paeonius flared up (the 
satirist had quite savagely assailed him with the bite 
of his burning tooth) and said to the loungers who 
were standing by, " I have now found out the 
culprit in this attack on us all. You see how 
Catullinus is dying with laughter; obviously our 
tale is no news to him. What has made him 
blurt out such a hasty opinion ? Surely a man who 
pronounces thus on a part of the work already 
knows the whole of it. Now Sidonius is at present 
in Auvergne ; so we can infer that the thing was 
concocted with Sidonius as author and this gentle- 
man as audience." They all began to rage and rail 
against me, absent as I was and unwitting and 
innocent ; no room was left for fair dealing, honesty, 
or investigation. So Paeonius, who was a power 
with the populace, led the compliant crowd by the 
nose. 5. For this Paeonius was a demagogue all 
over, the sort of man who was always stirring up a sea 
of riots by his blasts of tribunician violence. But if 
the question had been asked, " Who is he by birth 
and whence does he come ? " ^ — his parentage had 
no standing beyond what a provincial town can give, 
and in the beginning of his career he was better 
known by the eminence of his stepfather than by 
that of his father ; but he made repeated efforts to 
rise by fair means or foul, and while his avarice 
made him stingy his ambition made him a wastrel. 
Desiring, even if other means should fail, to gain a 
connexion with a family of higher rank through his 
daughter (certainly a quite unexceptionable lady), 
our Chremes, they say, abandoned the hardness 
characteristic of his native place and promised his 
Pamphilus a splendid dowr\'.3 6_ Later, when the 



de capessendo diademate coniuratio Marcelliniana ^ 
coqueretur, nobilium iuventuti signiferum sese in 
factione praebuerat, homo adhuc novus in senectute, 
donee aliquando propter experimenta felicis audaciae 
natalium eius obscuritati dedit hiantis interregni 
rima fulgorem. nam vacante aula turbataque 
republica solus inventus est, qui ad Gallias adminis- 
trandas fascibus prius quam codicillis ausus accingi 
mensibus multis tribunal inlustrium potestatum 
spectabilis praefectus escenderet, anno peracto 
militiae extremae terminum circa vix honoratus, 
numerariorum more seu potius advocatorum, 
quorum cum finiuntur actiones, tunc incipiunt 
dignitates. 7. igitur iste sic praefectorius, sic sena- 
tor, cuius moribus quod praeconia competentia 
non ex asse persolvo, generi sui moribus debeo, 
multorum plus quam bonorum odia commovit adhuc 
ignoranti mihi, adhuc amico, tamquam saeculo meo 
canere solus versu valerem. venio Arelatem, nil 
adhuc (unde enim?) suspicans, quamquam putarer 

^ Marcelliniana vel Marcellini requiri admonet Mommsen, 
recte, ut videtur, nisi Marcellina scrihas : marcell(i)ana codd. 

1 In spite of tbe confusion in the MSS., it seems reasonable 
to believe that the name here connected with the conspiracy 
is that of Marcellinus ; see Introd,, p. xxiii. Sidonius seems to 
imply that Marcellinus was a party to the plot ; if this is so, 
he must have speedily withdrawn without committing himself 
deeply. We know that he soon became an active supporter 
of Majorian. The "interregnum" occurred between the 
death of Avitus and the accession of Majorian. It was an 
interregnum in a double sense, as there was no western 
Emperor and no Praetorian Prefect of Gaul. 

* Praetorian Prefects received the rank of inlustris as a 
matter of course (n. on Carm. 7. 241), but Paeonius remained 
a spectabilis until his appointment was regularised. The 
spectabUes ranked below the iyditstres and above the darissimi. 
See Bury I. 19 sqq., Hodgkin I. 603, 620. Since the vicarii 
ranked as speci/ibiles, it is tempting to conjecture that 


conspiracy of Marcellinus ^ to assume the diadem 
was being hatched, he presented himself to the 
young nobles as their ringleader, still a " new man " 
in his old age ; till in the end, thanks to some strokes 
of lucky audacity on his part, the chink of a gaping 
interregnum let in a ray of glory upon the obscurity 
of his birth. For the throne being vacant and the 
administration in a turmoil, he alone of all men was 
found bold enough to assume the government of 
Gaul by taking up the fasces before receiving his 
patent of office, and to mount for several months 
the tribunal of " illustrious " dignitaries as an 
" eminent " prefect,^ so that he had barely gained 
his high dignity by the end of the year, toward 
the very cl^ose of his term of service, like the 
official cashiers, or rather the advocates, who 
receive their promotion just at the time when their 
activities are coming to an end.^ 7. Well then, this 
man, thus risen to prefectorian and senatorial rank (and 
if I do not give a full advertisement of his character 
it is owing to my respect for the character of his 
son-in-law), stirred up ill-feeling against me amongst 
the many rather than amongst the good, while I 
was still ignorant of his doings, still his friend — as 
if I were the only man in my generation who could 
write poetry! I came to Arelate, still suspecting 
nothing (why should I ?), although my enemies did 
not expect me to appear; and on the following 

Paeonius held the vicariate at the time when he took over 
the prefecture. If so, he may have acted partly at least from 
patriotic motives ; as there was no one to carry on the 
Prefect's duties, the V^icar might feel bound to step in. 

' The numerarii (cashiers in the office of the Praetorian 
Prefect) might expect to receive the rank of tribunu^; the 
advocates attached to the Prefect's court might become Counts 
of the Consistory. 



ab inimicis non adfuturus, ac principe post diem viso 
in forum ex more descendo. quod ubi visum est, 
ilico expavit, ut ait ille, nil fortiter ausa seditio. 
alii tamen mihi plus quam deceret ad genua provolvi ; 
alii, ne salutarent, fugere post statuas, occuli post 
columnas; alii tristes vultuosique iunctis mihi 
lateribus incedere. 8. hie ego quid sibi haec vellet 
in illis superbiae nimiae, nimiae in istis humilitatis 
forma mirari, nee ultro tamen causas interrogare, 
cum subornatus unus e turba faetiosorum dat sese 
mihi consalutandum. turn procedente sermone: 
" cernis hos? " inquit. et ego: "video," inquam, 
" gestusque eorum miror equidem nee admiror." 
ad haec noster interpres : " ut satirographum te," 
inquit. " aut exsecrantur aut reformidant." " unde ? 
cur? quando?" respondi; " quis crimen agnovit? 
quis detulit? quis probavit? " moxque subridens : 
** perge," inquam, " amice, nisi molestum est, et 
tumescentes nomine meo consulere dignare, utrum- 
nam ille delator aut index, qui satiram me scripsisse 
confinxit, et perscripsisse confinxerit ; unde forte sit 
tutius, si retractabunt, ut superbire desistant." 
9. quod ubi nuntius rettulit, protinus cuncti non 

i Lucan V. 322 sq. 



day, having visited the Emperor, I walked down in 
the usual way to the Forum. This was observed, 
and thereupon panic filled what the poet calls 

" The rout that dare not strike a manful blow." ^ 

Some indeed threw themselves at my feet with 
indecent servility ; others, to avoid greeting me, ran 
behind statues and concealed themselves behind 
columns ; others with downcast expression and long 
faces joined themselves on and walked at my side. 

8. At this point I began to wonder what such a show 
of extravagant haughtiness in one party and extrava- 
gant abjectness in another could possibly mean, but I 
did not go out of my way to inquire into the reasons, 
until one of the aggressive rabble, who had been 
put up to the job, presented himself to me so as to 
make me greet him. Then as we went on talking 
he asked, "Do you see these gentlemen?" "I 
do," said I, " and I find their behaviour more puzzling 
than pleasing." " They look on you as a satirist," 
said my instructor, " and curse or dread you accord- 
ingly." "How so? Why? When?" I replied; 
"Who discovered the wrongdoing? Who has in- 
formed against me ? Who has proved the charge ? " 
Then with a smile I added, " Go on, my friend, if 
you don't mind, and be good enough to inquire as 
from me of those who are making all this stir whether 
the informer or spy who invented the story that I 
had composed a satire also invented the addition 
that I have finished writing it. So if these 
people will think over it they will perhaps find 
it safer to give up their insolent conduct." 

9. When the messenger brought back this answer, 
the whole company, not in a quiet way or one 



modeste neque singuli sed propere et catervatim 
oscula ac dexteras mihi dederunt. solus Curio 
meus, in transfugarum perfidiam invectus, cum 
advesperasceret, per cathedrarios servos vispilloni- 
bus taetriores domum raptus ac reportatus est. 
10. postridie iussit Augustus ut epulo suo circensibus 
ludis interessemus. primus iacebat cornu sinistro 
consul ordinarius Severinus, vir inter ingentes 
principum motus atque inaequalem reipublicae 
statum gratiae semper aequalis ; iuxta eum Magnus, 
olim ex praefecto, nuper ex consule, par honoribus 
persona geminatis, recumbente post se Camillo, 
filio fratris, qui duabus dignitatibus et ipse decursis 
pariter ornaverat proconsulatum patris, patrui 
consulatum; Paeonius hinc propter atque hinc 
Athenius, homo litium temporumque varietatibus 
exercitatus. hunc sequebatur Gratianensis, omni 
ab infamia vir sequestrandus, qui Severinum sicut 
honore postibat, ita favore praecesserat. ultimus 

^ Paeonius is so called as an agitator of the rabble. Cf. 
Lucan I. 268-271, IV. 799-801. 

* One end of the dinner-table was left free for the con- 
venience of the service; it is from this end that the " right " 
and " left " sides of the couch are reckoned. The usual form 
of dining-couch at this time was semicircular {sigma or 
stibadium), being made to fit the round tables which had long 
been fashionable. The " horns " are the two ends of the 
couch. In the present case the guests are arranged in a way 
which seems to have been usual at the time. On the right 
extremity (or " horn ") reclines Majorian, the host. Opposite 
him, on the left horn, is the guest of honour (the consul). The 
other guests are arranged round the couch in strict order of 
precedence, beginning with Magnus, next to the consul, and 
ending with Sidonius, who is next to Majorian. At the 
beginning of the conversation the Emperor was apparently 
expected to address the chief guest first and then say a word 
to each of the others in order of precedence. 


by one, but in a crowd and in a rush, offered me 
their lips and their hands. Only my good Curio ^ 
upbraided violently the disloyalty of the deserters, 
but as evening was coming on he was caught up 
by his sedan-bearers, who were more repulsive than 
undertakers' men, and so he was carried off to his 
liouse. 10. The next day Augustus invited me to 
take part in his banquet on the occasion of the 
sports of the circus. The first place on the left horn 
of the couch ^ was occupied by Severinus,^ consul 
of the year, a man who through all the great struggles 
between the mighty and through all the unstable 
fortunes through which the state had passed had 
always kept a steady position of influence. At his 
side was Magnus,^ who had formerly had the stand- 
ing of an ex-prefect and had lately gained that 
of an ex-consul,^ a personality equal to the double 
distinction conferred upon him. After him was 
placed Camillus,® his brother's son, who, having 
himself also passed through two high offices, had 
added fresh lustre alike to his father's proconsulship 
and to his uncle's consulship. Then next to him 
came Paeonius. and then Athenius,'' a man who had 
played a busy part in the vicissitudes of litigation 
and revolution. After him came Gratianensis,'' a 
man whom no ill-report ought to touch, inferior 
to Severinus in rank but having the advantage 
of him in favour. Last came I, placed where 

' Nothing further is known of Severinus. 

* Magnus : n. on Carm. 23. 455. 

' As already mentioned, Magnus had been consul in the 
previous year (460). 

• Caraillus : Carm. 9. 8. 
' Not otherwise known. 


VOL. I. Q 


ego iacebam, qua purpurati latus laevum margine in 
dextro porrigebatur. 11. edulium multa parte finita 
Caesaris ad consulem sermo dirigitur, isque succinc- 
tus; inde devolvitur ad consularem; cum quo 
saepe repetitus, quia de litteris factus, ad virum 
inlustrem Camillum ex occasione transfertur, in 
tantum ut diceret princeps : " vere habes patruum, 
frater Camille, propter quern me familiae tuae 
consulatum unum gratuler contulisse." tunc ille, 
qui simile aliquid optaret, tempore invento : " non 
unum," inquit, " domine Auguste, sed primum." 
summo fragore, ut nee Augusti reverentia obsisteret, 
excepta sententia est. 12. inde nescio quid 
Athenium interrogans superiectum Paeonium com- 
pellatio Augusta praeteriit, casu an industria ignoro. 
quod cum turpiter Paeonius aegre tulisset, quod 
fuit turpius, compellato tacente respondit. subrisit 
Augustus, ut erat auctoritate servata, cum se com- 
munioni dedisset, ioci plenus, per quern cachinnum 
non minus obtigit Athenio vindictae, quam conti- 
gisset iniuriae. colligit itaque sese trebacissimus 
senex et, ut semper intrinsecus aestu pudoris exco- 
quebatur, cur sibi Paeonius anteferretur : "non 
miror," inquit, " Auguste, si mihi standi locum 

1 This is Sidonius's way of saying that he was close to the 
emperor, who occupied the right "horn." The mention of 
the " left side " of the emperor has no significance, as every 
diner reclined on his left side (or elbow) ; it is due merely to 
the author's itch for antithesis; as "right" occurs in the 
sentence he cannot refrain from contrasting it with "left," 
just as he can scarcely ever mention " new " without contrast- 
ing it with " old," and vice versa. 


the left side of the wearer of the purple reposed 
on the right extremity of the couch.^ 11. When 
we had got a good way through the courses, 
Caesar's conversation was directed to the consul, 
and was only short ; then it passed to the consular, 
and with him it was frequently resumed, being on 
literary subjects ; it was then shifted, when an occasion 
offered, to the Illustrious Camillus, to the extent 
that the Emperor remarked, " Truly, my dear 
Camillus, with such an uncle as you have I am 
delighted to have bestowed one consulship on your 
family." Then Camillus. who had similar ambitions 
for himself, found his opportunity, and said, " Not 
one consulship, my lord Augustus, but the first." 
This reply was received with a roar of applause, not 
hindered even by respect for Augustus. 12. Then 
Augustus in his round of remarks, by putting to 
Athenius some trifling question (whether deHberately 
or by accident I know not), passed over Paeonius, 
who was placed above him. Paeonius, with very bad 
taste, showed annoyance at this, and, what was worse, 
before the person addressed found words to reply, 
answered for him. Augustus gave a gentle laugh, 
being a man who, while keeping his dignity, was 
full of merriment when he had given himself over 
to good-fellowship; and by that chuckle Athenius 
won a revenge quite as great as the injury which he 
would otherwise have suffered. So this old gentle- 
man, who was a decidedly artful person, pulled him- 
self together, and found a vent for the blaze of 
shame which constantly burned within him as he 
thought how Paeonius was favoured above him. " I 
am not at all surprised, Augustus," said he, " that 
this fellow should attempt to rob me of my right to 



praeripere conetur, qui tibi invadere non erubescit 
loquendi." 13. et vir inlustris Gratianensis : " mul- 
tus," inquit, " hoc iurgio satiricis campus aperitur." 
hie imperator ad me cervice conversa: "audio," 
ait, " comes Sidoni, quod satiram scribas." " et 
ego," inquam, " hoc audio, domine princeps." tunc 
ille, sed ridens : " parce vel nobis." "at ego," 
inquam, " quod ab inlicitis tempero, mihi parco." 
post quae ille : " et quid faciemus his," inquit, " qui 
te lacessunt? " et ego: " quisquis est iste, domine 
imperator, publice accuset : si redarguimur, debita 
luamus supplicia convicti ; ceterum obiecta si non 
inprobabiliter cassaverimus, oro ut indultu clementiae 
tuae praeter iuris iniuriam in accusatorem meum 
quae volo scribam." 14. ad haec ipse Paeonium 
conspicatus nutu coepit consulere nutantem, place- 
retne condicio. sed cum ille confusus reticuisset 
princepsque consuleret erubescenti, ait: "annuo 
postulatis, si hoc ipsum e vestigio versibus petas." 
" fiat," inquam; retrorsumque conversus, tamquam 
aquam manibus poscerem, tantumque remoratus, 
quantum stibadii circulum celerantia ministeria 
percurrunt, cubitum toro reddidi. et imperator: 
" spoponderas te licentiam scribendae satirae versi- 
bus subitis postulaturum." et ego: 

" scribere me satiram qui culpat, maxime princeps, 
hanc rogo decernas aut probe t aut timeat." 

^ In the case of Sidonius this title is commonly thought to 
have been purely honorary, not due to the holding of any public 
office. The view of Savaron that he was comes civitatis 
Arvemorum has recently been revived, but has no evidence 
to support it ; and the existence of an official with this title in 
the reign of Majorian would certainly be surprising. 



precedence, when he does not blush to usurp your 
right to speak." 13. Then said the Illustrious 
Gratianensis, " This \\Tangle opens a wide door 
for satirists." Thereupon the Emperor turned his 
head to me and said, ** I hear. Count ^ Sidonius, 
that you write satire." I repHed, " Sovereign Lord, 
I hear it too." Then he said, but with a smile, 
" Anyhow, spare poor me." I said, " In keeping 
off forbidden ground it is myself that I spare." 
*' And what," he said, " shall we do with those who 
attack you ? " I replied, "Whoever does so, my Lord 
Emperor, ought to accuse me openly ; if I am found 
guilty, let me pay the proper penalty as a proved 
offender; if, on the other hand, I can make out a 
good case against the charge, I beg that by the 
indulgence of your gracious clemency I may be 
allowed to wTite what I please against my accuser, 
short of offending the law." 14. At this he looked 
Paeonius in the face and by a nod propounded to the 
confounded courtier the question whether he 
approved of the terms. When the abashed Paeonius 
said nothing, the Prince showed consideration for 
his blushes and said, " I approve the proposal, on 
condition that you make the request on the spot 
in verse." "Very good," 1 said; then I turned 
round as if asking for water for my hands, and after 
M'aiting just the time that the hurrying servants 
take to make the round of the couch, I again reposed 
my arm on the cushion. Then the Emperor said, 
" You undertook to ask in impromptu verse for 
permission to write a satire." I said: 

" Who taxes me with satire — mighty prince, 
Say he must prove it or be made to wince." 



15. secutus est fragor, nisi quod dico iactantia est, 
par Camillano, quern quidem iion tarn carminis 
dignitas quam temporis brevitas meruit, et 
princeps : " deum tester et statum publicum me de 
cetero numquam prohibiturum quin quae velis 
scribas, quippe cum tibi crimen impactum probari 
nuUo modo possit; simul et periniurium est sen- 
tentiam purpurati tribuere privatis hoc simultatibus. 
ut innocens ac secura nobilitas propter odia certa 
crimine incerto periclitetur. " ad banc ipse sen- 
tentiam cum verecunde capite demisso gratias 
agerem, contionatoris mei coeperunt ora pallere, in 
quae paulo ante post iram tristitia successerat ; nee 
satis defuit quin gelarent tamquam ad exsertum 
praebere cervices iussa mucronem. 16. vix post 
haec alia pauca : surreximus. paululum ab aspectu 
imperatoris processeramus atque etiamnunc chlamy- 
dibus induebamur, cum mihi consul ad pectus, 
praefectorii ad manus cadere, ipse ille reus amicus 
crebro et abiecte miserantibus cunctis humiliari, ita 
ut timerem ne mihi invidiam supplicando moveret. 
quam criminando non concitaverat. dixi ad ex- 
tremum pressus oratu procerum conglobatorum. 
scire t conatibus suis versu nil reponendum, derogare 
actibus meis in posterum tamen si pepercisset; 


15. At once there was an outburst of applause (if it 
is not boasting to say so) like that which followed 
the sally of Camillus; however, it was earned not 
so much by the quality of the verse as by its quick 
production. Then the Prince said, " I declare 
before God and the State that for the future I will 
never forbid your writing anything that you please, 
for the charge that has been fastened upon you can 
in no way be substantiated. Moreover, it would be 
an outrageous thing if the authority of the wearer 
of the purple should so favour private animosities 
as to endanger an inoffensive and unsuspecting 
nobleman by a doubtful charge prompted by un- 
doubted ill-will." At this utterance I modestly 
bowed my head and expressed my thanks, and the 
face of my demagogue, in which gloom had so 
recently taken the place of anger, began to pale; 
indeed it almost froze, as if the order had been 
given him to stretch out his neck to the drawn 
sword of the executioner. 16. After this there was 
very little further conversation ; then we rose. We 
had only proceeded a little way from the Emperor's 
presence, and we were just putting on our cloaks, when 
the consul flung himself on my breast and the ex-pre- 
fects grasped my hands, while my friend the offender, 
of all people, abased himself before me again and 
again, rousing the whole company to compassion, 
so that I was afraid that by his humiliation he might 
stir up against me the ill-will which he had failed 
to excite by his accusation. In the end, urged by 
a massed appeal from the dignitaries present, I told 
him that he might be sure that no revenge in verse 
would be taken for his machinations, always provided 
that in the future he did not vilify my actions ; for 



etenim sufficere debere, quod satirae obiectio famam 
mihi parasset, sed sibi infamiam. 17. in summa 
percuU ^ quidem, domine maior, non assertorem 
caliimniae tantum quantum murmuratorem ; sed 
cum mihi sic satisfactum est ut pectori meo pro 
reatu eius tot potestatum dignitatumque culmina 
et iura summitterentur, fateor exordium contumeliae 
talis tanti fuisse, cui finis gloria fuit. vale. 



L Duo nunc pariter mala sustinent Arverni tui. 
"quaenam?" inquis. praesentiam Seronati et 
absentiam tuam. Seronati, inquam : de cuius ut 
primum etiam nomine loquar, sic mihi videtur 
quasi praescia futurorum lusisse fortuna, sicuti ex 
adverso maiores nostri proelia, quibus nihil est 
foedius, bella dixerunt ; quique etiam pari contrarie- 
tate fata, quia non parcerent, Parcas vocitavere. 

^ perculi Wilamoivitz : pertuli. 

* For Ecdicius see Introd., pp. xlvi £f. 

^ Seronatus is generally said to have been Praetorian 
Prefect of Gaul, but it is quite possible that he was either 
Vicarius of the Seven Provinces (see p. 347, n. 2) or governor of 


there was good reason, as I told him, for me to be 
content, inasmuch as his charge of satire-writing 
had brought me repute and him disrepute. 17. The 
upshot of it all is, my honoured lord, that I crushed 
one who had whispered rather than proclaimed a 
false accusation against me ; but now that I have 
got such ample satisfaction, having had all those 
high and mighty dignitaries bowing their majesty 
and authority before me because of his guilt, I must 
confess that the insult which formed the preamble 
was worth while, seeing that the conclusion has been 
glory. Farewell. 



1 . Your countrymen the Arverni have now to bear 
two troubles at once. " What can they be ? " you 
ask. Seronatus's ^ presence and your absence. Sero- 
natus's, I say, whose very name, I may remark at the 
outset, makes me feel that chance, foreseeing the: 
future, must have played a joke, just as our ancestors, 
going by contraries, called wars, which are the 
foulest of all things, bella (" beautiful "), and with 
like contradiction called the Fates Parcae, because 

the province of Aquitanica Prima (perhaps in a.d. 469). He 
was in league with Euric, and tried to deliver the Roman 
territories into the hands of the Goths, until he was brought 
to justice by the Arvemians (VII. 7. 2). See also V. 13. 


rediit ipse Catilina saeculi nostri nuper Aturribus, ut 
sanguinem fortunasque miserorum, quas ibi ex parte 
propinaverat, hie ex asse misceret. 2. scitote in 
eo per dies spiritum diu dissimulati furoris aperiri: 
aperte invidet, abiecte fingit, serviliter superbit, 
indicit ut dominus, exigit ut tyrannus, addicit ut 
iudex, calumniatur ut barbarus ; to to die a metu 
armatus, ab avaritia ieiunus, a cupiditate terribilis, 
a vanitate crudelis non cessat simul furta vel punire 
vel facere; palam et ridentibus convocatis ructat 
inter cives pugnas, inter barbaros litteras ; epistulas, 
ne primis quidem apicibus sufficienter initiatus, 
publice a iactantia dictat, ab impudentia emendat; 
3. totum quod concupiscit quasi comparat nee dat 
pretia contemnens nee accipit instrumenta desperans ; 
in concilio iubet in consilio tacet, in ecclesia iocatur 
in convivio praedicat, in cubiculo damnat in quaes- 
tione dormitat; implet cotidie silvas fugientibus 
villas hospitibus,^ altaria reis carceres clericis; 
^ hostibua LC. 

^ Whether the form Aturribus is correct or not, the reference 
is to the town of the Aturenses (Ci vitas Aturensium, modem 
Aire, in Gascony). It was in Novempopulana, which now 
belonged to the Goths, and the Gothic court occasionally resided 

* The reference seems to be to instrumenta emptionis (see 
Justinian, Inst. III. 23. 1), written contracts between vendor 
and intending purchaser. 

* The Concilium Septem Provinciarum (Introd., p. xii). 

* Referring to the usual system of occupation by the Goths 
and others, whereby the Roman landowner had to surrender 
a certain portion of his estate to a " barbarian." See Introd., 
p. X, n. 2. The word hospes was euphemistically applied 


they spared not. This very Catiline of our age 
returned lately from Aire ^ to make here one big 
draught of the blood and the fortunes of the wretched 
inhabitants, after a good taste of such refreshment 
in the other place. 2. Be it known to all of you 
that in his case a long-concealed spirit of brutality 
is being revealed more fully every day. He is 
openly malignant and basely deceitful ; he swaggers 
like a slave and gives his orders like a master; 
exacts like a despot, condemns like a judge, accuses 
falsely like a barbarian ; all day long he goes armed 
through fear and he goes hungry' through avarice; 
his greed makes him terrible, his presumption makes 
him cruel ; he is ceaselessly busy either in punishing 
thefts or in committing them ; in public and amidst 
the laughter of those he has assembled he belches 
forth talk of fighting amongst peaceful citizens and 
of letters amongst barbarians : as for his written 
instructions, not having had a real schooHng even in 
his ABC, he dictates them in public through boast- 
fulness and corrects them through sheer effrontery. 
3. Everything that he lusts to possess he makes a 
pretence of purchasing ; he is too arrogant to pay the 
price and too diffident to agree to a contract of 
sale.2 In the Common Council ^ he gives orders, 
among his counsellors he is mute ; in the church 
he jests, at the banquet he preaches; in his 
chamber he convicts, in the court he dozes; each 
day he crowds the woods with fugitives, the farms 
with barbarian occupants,^ the altars with accused 
persons, the prisons with priests; he brags to the 

both to the owner and to his unwelcome "guest." The 
meaning is that Seronatus allows the Goths to encroach freely 
on Roman territory. 


exsultans Gothis insultansque Romanis, inludens 
praefectis conludensque numerariis, leges Theudo- 
sianas caleans Theudoricianasque proponens veteres 
culpas, nova tributa perquirit. 4. proinde moras 
tuas citus explica et quidquid illud est quod te retentat 
incide. te exspectat palpitantium civium extrema 
libertas. quidquid sperandum, quidquid desper- 
andum est, fieri te medio, te praesule placet, si 
nullae a republica vires, nulla praesidia, si nuUae, 
quantum rumor est, Anthemii principis opes, statuit 
te auctore nobilitas seu patriam dimittere seu 
capillos. vale. 



1. Ruri me esse causaris, cum mihi potius queri 
suppetat te nunc urbe retineri. iam ver decedit 
aestati et per lineas sol altatus extremas in axem 
Scythicum radio peregrinante porrigitur. hie quid 
de regionis nostrae climate loquar ? cuius spatia 

^ i.e. assume the tonsure. 

* On Domitius see Carm. 24. 10 n. Some of the "fine 
writing " in this letter is rather obscure, and the description 
does not supply adequate material for a plausible plan of the 
buildings. For the baths of Avitacum see Carm. 18. There 
have been several attempts to identify the site of the " villa." 
The favourite theory places it on the shores of the Lac d'Aydat, 
about 12 miles S.W. of Clermont-Ferrand. The very name of 
Aydat (Aidacum in mediaeval documents) seems to confirm 
the identification, and in the village church there is a mysterious 


Goths and insults the Romans, mocks the magistrates 
and plays tricks along with the public cashiers ; he 
tramples on the laws of Theodosius and issues laws 
of Theodoric, searching out ancient offences and 
brand-new taxes. 4. Be quick then and clear away 
your impediments and break off whatever is detain- 
ing you. Your countrymen in the last throes of 
the struggle for liberty are waiting for you. Every 
counsel of hope or of despair we are prepared to 
risk with you in our midst, with you as our leader. 
If the state has neither strength nor soldiers, if (as 
report has it) the Emperor Anthemius has no re- 
sources, then our nobility has resolved under your 
guidance to give up either its country or its hair.^ 



1. You grumble at my staying in the country, 
whereas I have better reason to complain of your 
being detained in town. Spring is now giving 
place to summer, and the sun, travelling upward 
through its highest latitudes, is obtruding an alien 
ray upon the region of the North Pole. No need 
to speak here of the climate of this district. The 

inscription, possibly of the 12th century, but now thought to 
be a copy of a much older one : HIC ST (= sunt) DVO 
INNOCENTES ET S (= sanctiis) SIDONIVS. But it is not 
very easy to accept this tempting identification, even if we 
make allowance for considerable changes in the physical 
features of the district. The question is discussed at length 
by Stevens, Appendix B, pp. 185-195, with the aid of a map, 
a plan, and an aerial photograph. 


divinum sic tetendit opificium ut magis vaporibus 
orbis occidui subiceremur. quid plura? niundus 
incanduit : glacies Alpina deletur et hiulcis arentium 
rimarum flexibus terra perscribitur ; squalet glarea 
in vadis, limus in ripis, pulvis in campis ; aqua ipsa 
quaecumque perpetuo labens tractu cunctante 
languescit ; iam non solum calet unda sed coquitur. 

2. et nunc, dum in carbaso sudat unus, alter in 
bombyce, tu endromidatus exterius, intrinsecus 
fasceatus, insuper et concava municipis Amerini sede 
compressus discipulis non aestu minus quam timore 
pallentibus exponere oscitabundus ordiris : " Samia 
mihimaterfuit." quin tu mage , si quid tibi salubre 
cordi, raptim subduceris anhelantibus angustiis 
civitatis et contubernio nostro aventer insertus fallis 
clementissimo recessu inclementiam canicularem? 

3. sane si placitum, quis sit agri in quem vocaris 
situs accipe. Avitaci sumus : nomen hoc praedio, 
quod, quia uxorium, patrio mihi dulcius : haec mihi 
cum meis praesule deo, nisi quid tu fascinum verere, 
Concordia, mons ab occasu, quamquam terrenus, 
arduus tamen inferiores sibi colles tamquam gemino 
fomite efFundit, quattuor a se circiter iugerum 

^ i.e. of withies, for which Ameria was famous. This ex- 
pression has been ludicrously misunderstood ; Domitius has 
actually been represented as "teaching in the schools of 
Ameria " ! See Housman in Class. Rev. XIV (1900), p. 54. 

* Terence, Eunuchus, 107. 

' Settlements of considerable size, consisting largely of 
tenant-farmers, slaves, and other persons attached in various 
ways to the estate or to its owner, grew up in the neighbour- 
hood of important " villas." Thus Aviiacum is here treated 
grammatically as a township, and used in the locative case. 

* i.e. not rocky, 



divine workmanship has so fixed its borders that we 
are chiefly exposed to the heats of the west. Why 
say more? The earth has groMn hot; the ice of 
the Alps is disappearing; the land is being scored 
with irregular curved cracks gaping in the heat; 
gravel Hes untidily in the fords, mud on the banks, 
dust in the fields; even streams that flow all the 
year round have languidly slowed down ; the water 
is not merely hot, it boils. 2. And at this time of year, 
while one man sweats in linen and another in silk, 
you with your woollen gown outside and your 
swathings underneath, and, as if that were not 
enough, squeezed into a deep chair made of 
Ameria's population,^ begin yawningly to expound 
to your pupils, whose pale faces are due quite as 
much to the heat as to fear of you : "A Samian 
was my mother." 2 Why not rather, if you have 
any thought of your health, promptly withdraw from 
the panting oppression of the town and eagerly join 
our house-party, and so beguile the fierceness of 
the dog-days by retiring to the coolest of retreats ? 
3. Just let me tell you, if you don't mind, how this 
country place you are invited to is situated. We 
are at Avitacum ; ^ this is the name of the farm, 
which is dearer to me than the property I inherited 
from my father, because it came to me with my 
wife : such is the harmony in which, under God's 
guidance, I live with my family (I hope you are 
not afraid of the evil eye !). On the western side is 
a mountain, earthy in substance * but stiff to climb, 
which pushes out lower hills from itself like offshoots 
from a double stem ; and these hills diverge so 
as to leave a breadth of about four iugera ^ between 

' The itigerutn was about five-eighths of an acre. 


latitudine abductos. sed donee domicilio competens 
vestibuli campus aperitur, mediam vallem reetis 
tractibus prosequuntur latera elivorum usque in 
marginem villae, quae in Borean Austrumque con- 
versis frontibus tenditur. 4. balineum ab Africo 
radicibus nemorosae rupis adhaerescit, et si caedua 
per iugum silva truncetur, in ora fornacis lapsu 
velut spontaneo deciduis struibus impingitur. hinc 
aquarum surgit cella coctilium, quae consequenti 
unguentariae spatii parilitate conquadrat excepto 
solii capacis hemicyclio, ubi et vis undae ferventis 
per parietem foraminatum fiexilis plumbi meatibus 
implicita singultat. intra conclave succensum solidus 
dies et haec abundantia lucis inclusae ut verecundos 
quosque compellat aliquid se plus putare quam 
nudos. 5. hinc frigidaria dilatatur, quae piscinas 
publicis operibus exstructas non impudenter aemul- 
aretur. primum tecti apice in conum cacuminato, 
cum ab angulis quadrifariam concurrentia dorsa 
cristarum tegulis interiacentibus imbricarentur (ipsa 
vero convenientibus mensuris exactissima spatiosi- 
tate quadratur, ita ut ministeriorum sese non im- 
pediente famulatu tot possit recipere sellas quot solet 
sigma personas), fenestras e regione conditor binas 
confinio camerae pendentis admovit, ut suspicientum 
visui fabrefactum lacunar aperiret. interior parietum 


them. But before spreading out so as to allow a 
sufficiently large frontage for a dwelling, the hill- 
sides escort the intervening valley in straight lines, 
right up to the outskirts of the mansion, which 
has its fronts facing north and south. 4. On the 
south-west side are the baths, hugging the base of 
a wooded cliff, and when along the ridge the branches 
of light wood are lopped, they slide almost of them- 
selves in falling heaps into the mouth of the furnace. 
At this point there stands the hot bath, and this is 
of the same size as the anointing-room which adjoins 
it, except that it has a semicircular end ^vith a roomy 
bathing-tub, in which part a supply of hot water 
meanders sobbingly through a lab}Tinth of leaden 
pipes that pierce the wall. Within the heated 
chamber there is full day and such an abundance 
of enclosed light as forces all modest persons 
to feel themselves something more than naked. 
5. Next to this the cold room spreads out ; it might 
without impertinence challenge comparison with 
baths built as public undertakings. First of all the 
architect has given it a peaked roof of conical shape ; 
the four faces of this erection are covered at the 
corners where they join by hollow tiles, between 
which rows of flat tiles are set, and the bath-chamber 
itself has its area perfectly adjusted by the nicest 
measurements so as to find room for as many chairs 
as the semicircular bath usually admits bathers, 
without causing the servants to get in one another's 
way. The architect has also set a pair of windows, 
one opposite the other, where the vaulting joins the 
wall, so as to disclose to the view of guests as they 
look up the cunningly-wrought coffered ceiling. 
The inner face of the walls is content with the plain 



facies solo levigati caementi candore contenta est. 
6. non hie per nudam pictorum corporum pulchri- 
tudinem turpis prostat historia, quae sicut ornat 
artem, sic devenustat artificem. absunt ridiculi 
vestitu et vultibus histriones pigmentis multi- 
coloribus Philistionis supellectilem mentientes. 
absunt lubrici tortuosique pugilatu et nexibus 
palaestritae, quorum etiam viventum luctas, si 
involvantur obscenius, casta confestim gymnasiarcho- 
rum virga dissolvit. 7. quidplura? nihil illis paginis 
impressum reperietur quod non vidisse sit sanctius. 
pauci tamen versiculi lectorem adventiciuni remora- 
buntur minime improbo temperamento, quia eos 
nee relegisse desiderio est nee perlegisse fastidio. iam 
si marmora inquiras, non illic quidem Paros Carystos 
Proconnesos, Phryges Numidae Spartiatae rupium 
variatarum posuere crustas, neque per scopulos 
Aethiopicos et abrupta purpurea genuine fucata 
conchylio sparsum mihi saxa furfurem mentiuntur. 
sed etsi nullo peregrinarum cautium rigore ditamur, 
habent tamen tuguria seu mapalia mea civicum 
frigus. quin potius quid habeamus quam quid 
non habeamus ausculta. 8. huic basilicae appendix 
piscina forinsecus seu, si graecari mavis, baptis- 
terium ab oriente conectitur, quod viginti circiter 
modiorum milia capit. hue elutis e calore venientibus 
triplex medii parietis aditus per arcuata intervalla 

^ A writer of mimes in Greek, who had a considerable vogue 
in Rome in the age of Augustus. 

* See Carm. 5. 34-36 n. Lapis Syenites was a coarse stone, 
sprinkled with numerous reddish crystals. 

3 A modius was approximately two gallons. 



whiteness of polished concrete. 6. Here no dis- 
graceful tale is exposed by the nude beauty of 
painted figures, for though such a tale may be a 
glory to art it dishonours the artist. There are no 
mummers absurd in features and dress counter- 
feiting Philistion's ^ outfit in paints of many colours. 
There are no athletes slipping and twisting in their 
blows and grips. Why, even in real life the chaste 
rod of the gymnasiarch promptly breaks off the 
bouts of such people if they get mixed up in an 
unseemly way ! 7. In short, there will not be found 
traced on those spaces anything which it would be 
more proper not to look at ; only a few lines of verse 
will cause the new-comer to stop and read : these 
strike the happy mean, for although they inspire 
no longing to read them again, they can be read 
through without boredom. If you ask what I have 
to show in the way of marble, it is true that Paros, 
Carystos and Proconnesos, Phrygians, Numidians 
and Spartans have not deposited here slabs from 
hill-faces in many colours, nor do any stone sur- 
faces, stained with a natural tinge among the 
Ethiopian crags with their purple precipices, furnish 
a counterfeit imitation of sprinkled bran.^ But 
although I am not enriched by the chill starkness 
of foreign rocks, still my buildings — call them 
cottages or huts as you please — have their native 
coolness. However, I want you to hear what we 
have rather than what we have not. 8. Attached 
to this hall is an external appendage on the east 
side, a piscina (swimming-pool), or, if you prefer the 
Greek word, a baptisterium, which holds about 20,000 
modii.^ Those who come out of the heat after the 
bath find a triple entrance thrown open to them in 



reseratur. nee pilae sunt mediae sed columnae, 
quas architecti peritiores aedificiorum purpuras 
nuncupavere. in hanc ergo piscinam fluvium de 
supercilio mentis elicitumcanalibusquecircumactis 
per exteriora natatoriae latera curvatum sex fistulae 
prominentes leonum simulatis capitibus effundunt, 
quae temere ingressis veras dentium crates, meros 
oculorum furores, certas cervicum iubas imagina- 
buntur. 9. hie si dominum seu domestica seu 
hospitalis turba circumstet, quia prae strepitu 
caduci fluminis mutuae vocum vices minus intelle- 
guntur, in aurem sibi populus confabulatur ; ita 
sonitu pressus alieno ridiculum adfectat publicus 
sermo secretum. hinc egressis frons triclinii matron- 
alis ofFertur, cui continuatur vicinante textrino cella 
penaria discriminata tantum pariete castrensi. 
10. ab ortu lacum porticus intuetur, magis rotundatis 
fulta coluriis ^ quam columnis invidiosa monobilibus. 
a parte vestibuli longitudo tecta intrinsecus patet 
mediis non interpellata parietibus, quae, quia nihil 
ipsa prospectat, etsi non hypodromus, saltim cryp- 
toporticus meo mihi iure vocitabitur. haec tamen 

^ coluriis Sinnond : collyriis. 

^ It seems almost certain that purpurae means columns of 
porphyry {purpureus lapis, Lucan X. 116). Columnae are 
cylindrical, pilae may be pilasters or half-cylindrical pillars. 
These two words are contrasted by Seneca {N.Q. VI. 20. 6) and 
Petronius (c. 79), and twice in the scholia on Horace, Sat. I. 
4. 71. Mediae is difficult. I take it to mean that only the 
middle one of the three entrances had "purple" columns. 



the centre of the wall, "with separate archways. The 
middle supports are not pillars but columns, of the 
kind that high-class architects have called " purples. "^ 
A stream is " enticed from the brow " ^ of the 
mountain, and diverted through conduits which are 
carried round the outer sides of the swimming-bath ; 
it pours its waters into the pool from six pro- 
jecting pipes with representations of lions' heads : 
to those who enter unprepared they will give the 
impression of real rows of teeth, genuine wildness in 
the eyes and unmistakable manes upon the neck. 
9. If the o^vner is surrounded here by a crowd of 
his own people or of visitors, so difficult is it to ex- 
change words intelligibly, owing to the roar of the 
falling stream, that the company talk right into 
each other's ears ; and so a perfectly open con- 
versation, overpowered by this din from without, 
takes on an absurd air of secrecy. On leaving this 
place one comes across the front of the ladies' dining- 
room; joined on to this, with only a barrack par- 
tition ^ between them, is the household store-room, 
next to which is the weaving-room. 10. On the east 
a portico overlooks the lake ; it is supported on 
round composite pillars rather than by a pretentious 
array of monolithic columns. On the side of the 
vestibule extends inward a length of covered passage 
— covered but open, being unbroken by partitions ; 
this corridor has no view of its own, so, although it 
cannot claim to be a hypodrome,* at any rate I am 
entitled to call it a crypt-portico. At the end of 

* Verg. Georg. I. 108 sq. 

' Presumably a flimsy partition, or one which does not 
extend all the way from floor to roof; but the expression does 
not seem to be found elsewhere, 

* Underground passage. 


aliquid spatio suo in extimo deambulacri capite 
defrudans efficit membrum bene frigidum, ubi 
publico lectisternio exstructo clientularum sive 
nutricum loquacissimus chorus receptui canit 
cum ego meique dormitorium cubiculum petierimus. 
11. a cryptoporticu in hiemale triclinium venitur, 
quod arcuatili camino saepe ignis animatus pulla 
fuligine infecit. sed quid haec tibi, quern nunc ad 
focum minime invito ? quin potius ad te tempusque 
pertinentia loquar. ex hoc triclinio fit in diaetam 
sive cenatiunculam transitus, cui fere totus lacus 
quaeque tota lacui patet. in hac stibadium et 
nitens abacus, in quorum aream sive suggestum a 
subiecta porticu sensira non ^ breviatis angusta- 
tisque gradibus ascenditur. quo loci recumbens, si 
quid inter edendum vacas, prospiciendi voluptatibus 
occuparis. 12. iam si tibi ex illo conclamatissimo 
fontium decocta referatur, videbis in calicibus 
repente perfusis nivalium maculas et frusta nebularum 
et illam lucem lubricam poculorum quadam quasi 
pinguedine subiti algoris hebetatam. turn re- 
spondentes poculis potiones, quarum rigentes cyathi 
siticuloso cuique, ne dicam tibi granditer abstemio, 

^ non om. LVM^. 

^ A lectistemium publicum was a sacred feast to appease the 
gods, at which their images were placed on couches with food 
set before them. Sidonius playfully uses this expression of the 
midday meal of female slaves and dependents, with a glance 
at the literal meaning of lectistemium, " spreading of a (dining-) 
couch," combined with the other meaning of publicum, 
"general"; one might say in English "a general spread." 
In those troublous times many humble or distressed people put 
themselves under the protection of the great landowners ; the 
wives or daughters of such men, and possibly those of some 



thi<? passage, however, a part is stolen from it to 
form a very cool chamber, where a chattering crowd 
of female dependents and nursemaids spread a feast 
for the gods,^ but sound the retreat when I 
and my family have set out for our bedrooms.^ 
11. From the crypt-portico we come to the winter 
dining-room, which the fire often called into life 
within the vaulted fireplace has stained with black 
soot. But why should I speak of this to you, wlien 
the last thing in my mind at this time is to bid 
you to the fireside ? Rather let me speak of what 
better suits you and the time of year. From this 
dining-room we pass to a living-room or small dining- 
room, all of which lies open to the lake and to which 
almost the whole lake lies open. In this room are a 
semicircular dining-couch and a glittering sideboard, 
and on to the floor or platform on which they stand 
there is a gentle ascent from the portico by steps 
which are not made either short or narrow. Reclin- 
ing in this place, you are engrossed by the pleasures 
of the view whenever you are not busy with the 
meal. 12. Then if a chilled drink is brought you 
from that most celebrated of springs, you \\ill see 
in the cups, when they are suddenly filled to the 
brim, spots and crumbs of snowy mist, and 
the glossy glitter which cups have is dimmed by 
the greasy-looking film produced by sudden cold. 
Then there are the drinks that are suited to the 
cups, icy ladlefuls of them, which might be dreaded 
by the most thirsty of men, to say nothing of you, 
who are supremely abstemious. From this place 

coloni (tenant-farmers) and other workers on the estate, 
might be included under the term dientiUae. 
* i.e. for the siesta. 



metuerentur. hinc iam spectabis ut promoveat alnum 
piscator in pelagus, ut stataria retia suberinis 
corticibus extendat aut signis per certa intervalla 
dispositis tractus funium librentur hamati, scilicet 
ut nocturnis per lacum excursibus rapacissimi 
salares in consanguineas agantur insidias : quid 
enim hinc congruentius dixerim, cum piscis pisce 
decipitur? 13. edulibus terminatis excipiet te de- 
versorium, quia minime aestuosum, maxime aestivum; 
nam per hoc, quod in Aquilonem solum patescit, 
habet diem, non habet solem, interiecto consistorio 
perangusto, ubi somn\ilentiae cubiculariorum dormi- 
tandi potius quam dormiendi locus est. 14. hie 
iam quam volupe auribus insonare cicadas meridie 
concrepantes, ranas crepusculo incumbente blater- 
antes, cygnos atque anseres concubia nocte clangentes, 
intempesta gallos gallinacios concinentes, oscines 
corvos voce triplicata puniceam surgentis Aurorae 
facem consalutantes, diluculo autem Philomelam 
inter frutices sibilantem, Prognen inter asseres 
minurrientem ! cui concentui licebit adiungas fistulae 
septiforis armentalem Camenam, quam saepe noc- 
turnis carminum certaminibus insomnes nostrorum 
montium Tityri exercent, inter greges tinnibulatos 
per depasta buceta reboantes. quae tamen varia 
vocum cantuumque modulamina profundius con- 
fovendo sopori tuo lenocinabuntur. 15. porticibus 
egresso, si portum litoris petas, in area virenti 


you will see how the fisherman propels his boat into 
the deep water, how he spreads his stationary nets 
on cork floats, and how lengths of rope with hooks 
attached are poised there, with marks arranged at 
regular intervals, so that the greedy trout, in 
their nightly forays through the lake, may be 
lured to kindred bait : for what more suitable 
phrase could I find in this case, when fish is caught 
by fish? 13. When you have finished your meal, 
a drawing-room will offer you welcome, one which is 
truly a summer room because it is not in the least 
sun-baked, for, as it is open to the north only, it 
admits daylight but not sunshine; before you 
reach it there is a narrow ante-chamber, where 
the somnolence of the ushers has room to doze 
rather than to sleep. 14. How charming it is here 
to have echoing in one's ears the midday chirp of 
cicalas, the croaking of the frogs as evening comes 
on, the honking of swans and geese in the early 
houi*s of slumber, the crowing of codes in the 
small hours ; to hear the prophetic rooks greeting 
with thrice-repeated cry the red torch of rising 
dawn, Philomela piping in the bushes in the half- 
light, and Procne twittering amid the rafters ! To 
this concert you may add if you please the pastoral 
muse with seven-holed flute, which often many a 
TitjTus of our mountains, forgoing sleep, keeps 
sounding in a nocturnal competition of song, among 
the belled sheep whose cries echo through the 
pastures as they crop the grass. Yet all these 
changeful tones of music and cries will but fondle 
and coax your slumber and make it all the deeper. 
15. Issuing from the shelter of the colonnades, if 
you make for the lakeside harbour, you find your- 



vulgare iubar,^ quamquam non procul nemus : 
ingentes tiliae duae conexis frondibus, fomitibus 
abiunctis unam umbram non una radice conflciunt. 
in cuius opacitate, cum me meus Ecdicius inlustrat, 
pilae vacamus, sed hoc eo usque, donee arborum 
imago contractior intra spatium ramorum recussa 
cohibeatur atque illic aleatorium lassis consumpto 
sphaeristerio faciat. 16. sed quia tibi, sicut aedi- 
ficium solvi, sic lacum debeo, quod restat agnosce. 
lacus in Eurum defluus meat, eiusque harenis 
fundamenta impressa domicilii ventis motantibus 
aestuans umectat alluvio. is quidem sane circa 
principia sui solo palustri voraginosus et vestigio 
inspectoris inadibilis : ita limi bibuli pinguedo 
coalescit ambientibus sese fontibus algidis, litoribus 
algosis. attamen pelagi mobilis campus cumbulis 
late secatur pervagabilibus, si flabra posuere ; si 
turbo austrinus insorduit, immane turgescit, ita ut 
arborum comis quae margin! insistunt superiectae 
asperginis fragor impluat. 17. ipse autem se- 
cundum mensuras quas ferunt nauticas in decern 
et septem stadia procedit, fluvio intratus, qui 

^ iubar add. ego. 

1 Lucan V. 220, where darkness shuts off from the Delphic 
prophetess the vision she has just had, and she emerges from 
it into the ordinary daylight : refertur ad volgare iubar. In 
the present passage I have inserted iubar, which might easily 
have dropped out after vulgare. If the reading in the text be 
not adopted, it seems best to read egress^is for egresso and to 
take vulgare as a verb : " you are made public," i.e. " you are 
exposed to view"; but the meanings of this verb when 
applied to persons do not favour such a use, even in jest. 
Sidonius has several references to and reminiscences of Lucan, 
and quotes him in I. II. 7, above. 

2 There is a play on words here; the lustre shed by the 



self exposed to " the light of common day " ^ on a 
stretch of green ; but there is a wooded patch not 
far off, where two enormous limes link the foliage of 
their separate stocks to produce a single shade from 
a twofold root. In that dark shelter, when my dear 
Ecdicius sheds his lustre upon me,^ we find recreation 
at ball, but only until the diminishing shadow of the 
trees is driven backward and confined within the 
range of the branches ^ and makes there a dicing- 
space for people tired after their ball-game. 16. Now 
that I have duly presented the building to you I 
must still give you the lake; so listen to what 
remains. The lake flows downwards towards the 
east, and its wash, which surges as the wind drives 
it, moistens the foundations of the house, which are 
sunk in its sandy bottom. At its beginning it has 
an expanse of marshy soil with deep pools, and no 
would-be sight-seer can get near, thanks to the 
greasy mixture of oozing slime amid an intertwining 
labyrinth of cold streams and weed-grown banks. 
But the moving plain of open water is cut in all 
directions by small boats flitting about everywhere, 
if the wind has fallen ; but if a gale from the south 
brings dirty weather, it forms stupendous waves, so 
that the breaking of the overcast spray comes down 
hke rain on the foliage of the trees which stand on 
the bank. 17. The lake itself, according to what is 
called nautical measurement, has a length of seven- 
teen stadia,* and is entered by a stream which is 

glorious Ecdicius is contrasted with the dark shade {opacitas) 
of the woodland. ' i.e. until the sun is overhead. 

* The stadium, a Greek measure, was used by the Romans 
for nautical and astronomical measurements. Seventeen 
stadia would be equal to 2 J Roman miles, i.e. almost exactly 
two English miles. 



salebratim saxorum obicibus adfractus spumoso 
canescit impulsu et nee longum scopulis praecipi- 
tibus exemptus laeu eonditur; quern fors fuat 
an incurrat an faciat, praeterit certe, coactus per 
cola subterranea deliquari, non ut fluctibus, sed 
ut piscibus pauperetur ; ^ qui repulsi in gurgitem 
pigriorem carnes rubras albis abdominibus extendunt : 
ita illis nee redire valentibus nee exire permissis 
quendam vivum et eircumlaticium carcerem cor- 
pulentia facit. 18. lacus ipse, qua dexter, incisus 
flexuosus nemorosusque, qua laevus, patens herbosus 
aequalis. aequor ab Africo viride per litus, quia 
in undam fronde porrecta ut glareas aqua, sic aquas 
umbra perfundit. huiusmodi colorem ab oriente 
par silvarum corona continuat. per Arctoum latus 
ut pelago natura, sic species, a Zephyro plebeius 
et tumultuarius frutex frequenterque lemborum 
superlabentum ponderibus inflexus ; hunc circa 
lubrici scirporum cirri plicantur simulque pingues 
ulvarum paginae natant salicumque glaucarum fota 

^ pauperetur ego : pauperaretur. 

^ This is a literal translation. The drains are likened to 
sieves or strainers because the apertures are covered by some 
kind of fine network or grating through which the water can 
filter but the fishes cannot pass. Apparently there was at this 
end of the lake a creek or inlet, which, since the current flowed 
in that direction, Sidonius regards as a continuation of the 
stream which flows into the lake at the other end. At the far 
end of this inlet there are drains to carry off the surplus water. 
The fishes are carried by the current into the inlet ; they cannot 
get into the drains, and, of course, there is a bank or dam to 
stop further progress. Here the water which does not vanish 
through the drains is in constant commotion, hurled back and 
whirling round, and the fishes are carried round with it till they 
get back to the less agitated water, where they congregate like 
salmon at the bottom of a salmon-leap and grow fat and 



roughly broken by rocky barriers and so whitens 
with splashes of foam, and presently frees itself from 
the steep rocks and buries itself in the lake. Whether 
it so happens that this river creates the lake or 
merely that it runs into it, it certainly passes beyond 
it, being strained through subterranean sieves,^ with 
the result that it undergoes a deprivation, not of its 
waters but of its fish. These are thrown back into 
the more sluggish water, where they increase the 
bulk of red flesh in their white bellies ; 2 and so 
it goes on: they are not able to make their way 
back or to find a way out, and their obesity creates 
for them what one may call a living circulatory prison. 
18. As for the lake itself, on its right bank it is 
indented, \vinding and wooded; on the left, open, 
grassy and even. On the south-west the water is 
green along the shore, because the foliage stretches 
over the water, and just as the water floods the 
gravel, so the shade floods the water. On the east 
a like fringe of trees spreads a tint of the same 
kind. On the northern side the water presents its 
natural appearance. On the west is a vulgar and 
disorderly growth of weeds, which is often bent 
under the weight of the yachts that speed over it ; 
round this growth slippery tufts of bulrushes wrap 
themselves ; thick slabs of sedge also float there, 
and the bitter sap of grey willows is ever nurtured 

sluggish. They have not the strength or energy to struggle 
back to the lake against the current; their only motion is a 
repetition of the same old gyration — up to the drains, round, 
and back again. At any rate, this is the best I can make of a 
very obscure passage. 

2 This reference to their corpulence may contain also a side- 
reference to the appearance of the bellies, white or silvery 
flecked with red. See n. on Carm. 18. 10. 



semper dulcibus aquis amaritiido. 19. in medio pro- 
fundi brevis insula, ubi supra molares naturaliter 
aggeratos per impactorum puncta remorum navalibus 
trita gyris meta protuberat, ad quam se iucunda 
ludentum naufragia collidunt. nam moris istic 
fuit senioribus nostris agonem Drepanitanum 
Troianae superstitionis imitari. iam vero ager ipse, 
quamquam hoc supra debitum, diffusus in silvis 
pictus in pratis, pecorosus in pascuis in pastoribus 
peculiosus. 20. sed non amplius moror, ne, si 
longior stilo terminus, relegentem te autumnus 
inveniat. proinde mihi tribue veniendi celeritatem 
(nam redeundi moram tibi ipse praestabis), daturus 
hinc veniam, quod brevitatem sibi debitam paulo 
scrupulosior epistula excessit, dum totum ruris 
situm solliciia rimatur; quae tamen summovendi 
fastidii studio nee cuncta perstrinxit. quapropter 
bonus arbiter et artifex lector non paginam, quae 
spatia describit, sed villam, quae spatiosa describitur, 
grandem pronuntiabunt. vale. 

* The boat-race described by Virgil in Aen. V. 114 sqq. 



by these sweet watei-s. 19. In the middle of the 
deep part is a small island. Here a turning-post 
sticks up on the top of a natural accumulation of 
boulders ; it is worn by the dents of oars dashed 
against it in the course of the circling evolutions 
of the ships, and it is the scene of the jolly wrecks 
of vessels which collide at the sports. For here it 
was the traditional custom of our elders to imitate 
the contest of Drepanum in the mythical tale of 
Troy.^ Further, let me say of the land around 
(though this is going beyond my obligation) that it is 
extensive in its woodland and nicely coloured in its 
flowers, with plenty of sheep in its pastures and 
plenteous savings in the shepherds' purses. 20. But 
I will detain you no longer, for if I let my pen run 
on further, the autumn may find you still reading. 
So grant me only the favour of a speedy arrival 
(for you will allow yourself a prolonged stay as a 
favour to yourself), and find excuses for me inasmuch 
as my letter by its rather excessive precision has 
outrun its proper limit of length whilst anxiously 
scrutinizing the whole lay-out of this country estate— 
though even so, it has left some points untouched, 
in order to avoid tedium. And so the fair-minded 
judge and the reader of expert taste will decide 
that the bigness is not in the letter which has an 
estate of so much size to describe, but in the estate 
which has so much size to need description. Fare- 





1. Gaudeo te, domine maior, amplissimae digni- 
tatis infulas consecutum. sed id mihi ob hoc solum 
destinato tabellario nuntiatum non minus gaudeo ; 
nam licet in praesentiarum sis potissimus magistratus 
et in lares Philagrianos patricius apex tantis post 
saeculis tua tantum felicitate remeaverit, invenis 
tamen, vir amicitiarum servantissime, qualiter 
honorum tuorum crescat communione fastigium, 
raroque genere exempli altitudinem tuam humi- 
litate sublimas. 2. sic quondam Quintum Fabium 
magistrum equitum dictatorio rigori et Papirianae 
superbiae favor publicus praetulit ; sic et Gnaeum 
Pompeium super aemulos extulit numquam fastidita 
popularitas ; sic invidiam Tiberianam pressit univer- 
sitatis amore Germanicus. quocirca nolo sibi de 
successibus tuis principalia beneficia plurimum 
blandiantur, quae nihil tibi amplius conferre potu- 
erunt quam ut, si id noluissemus, transiremur inviti. 
illud peculiare tuum est, illud gratiae singularis, 
quod tam qui te aemulentur non fiabes quam non 
invenis qui sequantur. vale. 

* On Felix see Carm. 9. 1 n. This letter congratulates him 
on his elevation to the patriciate, which he apparently received 
when Praetorian Prefect of Gaul. He may have succeeded 
Arvandus in this office in a.d. 469; Sundwall can scarcely be 
right in suggesting 474-475 as the date of his prefectship. 

1 See Carm. 7. 156 n. 

^ Q. Fabius Maximus, Master of the Horse to L. Papirius 
Cursor, fought against the Samnites in 325 B.C. in defiance of the 
dictator's orders, and was with difficulty saved from execu- 




1. I am delighted, my honoured lord, that you 
have gained the insignia of the most exalted dignity ; 
and I am no less delighted that the news has been 
sent me by a special messenger ; for though you are 
at present a magistrate of the highest rank and 
through your success alone the patrician honour has 
found its way back after so many generations to 
the house of the Philagrii,^ yet you, with your charac- 
teristic regard for the claims of friendship, find ways 
of enhancing the greatness of your lofty dignities 
by geniality, and in a fashion far from common you 
raise your elevation still higher by a lowly spirit. 
2. So in old days the approval of the public raised 
Quintus Fabius, the Master of the Horse, above the 
stern dictator, above the haughty Papirius ; ^ so 
Pompey, who never disdained to be the people's 
man, was exalted above his rivals ; so Germanicus, 
through the affection of the whole world, rose superior 
to the jealousy of Tiberius. Therefore I don't want 
the bounty of the Emperor to flatter itself by taking 
the chief credit for your success. The most it could 
have done for you would have been to make us 
reluctantly let you get ahead of us, supposing we 
had been unwilling ; but the special feature of your 
case, a feature of peculiar charm, is that you never 
find people jealous of you any more than you find 
them rivalling you. Farewell. 

tion by the intercession of the senate and the people and his 
aged father. He became the mainstay of Rome in the Second 
Samnite War. 


VOL. I. R 




1. Vir clarissimus Proiectus, domi nobilis et patre 
patnioque spectabilibus, avo etiam praestantissimo 
sacerdote conspicuus, amicitiarum tuarum, nisi 
respuis, avidissime sinibus infertur, et cum illi 
familiae splendor probitas morum, patrimonii 
facultas iuventutis alaeritas in omne decus pari 
lance conquadrent, ita demum sibi tamen videbitur 
ad arcem fastigatissimae felicitatis evectus, si 
gratiae tuae sodalitate potiatur. 2. Optantii claris- 
simi viri nuper vita functi filiam, quod deo pro- 
sperante succedat, licet a matre pupillae in coniugium 
petierit obtinueritque, parum tamen votorum 
suorum promotum censet efFectum, nisi assensum 
tuum super his omnibus seu sedulitate sua seu 
precatu nostrae intercessionis adipiscatur. namque 
ipse, quantum ad institutionem spectat puellae, in 
locum mortui patris curarum participatione succedis, 
conferendo virgini parentis adfectum, patroni 
auctoritatem, tutoris officium. 3. quocirca, quia 
dignus es ut domus tuae celeberrimam disciplinam 
etiam procul positorum petat ambitus, sicut decet 

* Sagittarius is not mentioned elsewhere. 
^ On the significance of the titles clarissimus and speclubilis 
sec Bury I. 19 sqq., Hodgkin I. 603, 620. 





1. The honourable^ Proiectus, a man of noble 
birth, who can claim the distinction of having a 
father and an uncle among the " Eminents " and 
also a grandfather who held an exalted position in 
the priesthood, is very eager to be received into the 
bosom of your friendship, if you are not averse. 
The lustre of his family, the uprightness of his 
character, the amplitude of his estate and the ardour 
of youth combine in equal measure to form a com- 
plete and well-balanced excellence, but he will not 
feel that he has reached the pinnacle of supreme 
happiness until he secures a share in your favour. 
2. He has sought in marriage from her mother the 
daughter of the honourable Optantius, lately 
deceased; but although he has been successful in 
his suit — and may God bless the union ! — still he 
considers that the fruition of his hopes is imperfectly 
accomplished unless in addition to all this felicity 
he obtains your approval either by his own assiduity 
or through my supplication as intercessor. For as 
regards the girl's upbringing you are yourself stepping 
into the dead father's place as a sharer in the re- 
sponsibilities, bringing to the maiden at once a 
parent's love, a protector's support and a guardian's 
service. 3. So since it is no more than you deserve 
if the aspirations even of total strangers should seek 
a place in a family so famous for its good government 
as yours is, please act as befits a statesman of the 
honest party, and reward the modest appeal of your 



bonanim partium \-iros, benignitate responsi proci 
supplicis verecundiam munerare et, qui ita expetitus 
deberes illi expetere pollicendam, secunis permitte ^ 
promissam, quia sic te condicioni huic meritomm 
ratio praefecit, ut nee superstiti Optantio in liberos 
suos decuerit plus licere. vale. 


1. lohannes familiaris meus inextricabilem laby- 
rinthum negotii multiplicis incurrit et donee suanun 

merita chartarum vel vestra scientia vel si qua est 
vestrae (si tamen est ulla) siniilis inspexerit, quid 
respuat, quid optet ignorat. ita se quodamniodo 
bipertitae litis forma confundit,ut propositio sua quern 
actioms ordinem propugnatura, quem sit impug- 
natura, non noverit. 2. pro quo preeem sedulam 
fundo, ut perspectis chartulis suis si quid iure 
competit instruatis, quae qualiterve sint obicienda 
quae refellenda monstrantes. non enim verebimu. 
quod causae istius cursus, si de vestri manaven 
fonte consilii, ulla contrastantum derivatione tenu- 
etur. vale. 

^ permitte if*T* : jsomifcte. 

* For Petronius see n. on L 7. -L 



suppliant suitor by the kindness of your answer. 
Had you yourself been so approached you would 
have been right in approaching her mother in turn 
and pressing for her approval of the match ; but as 
it is, I ask you to sanction ^^ithout hesitation an 
approval already given. Your kindness to the 
family has conferred upon you such a position of 
authority in the matter of this betrothal that even 
had Optantius been living he would have had no 
right to exercise a fuller control over his own children. 


1. My friend lohannes is rushing into the hopeless 
labyrinth of a complicated litigation, and until the 
merits of his documents are examined by your 
learning or by some learning like yours (if there is 
any such), he does not know what to choose and what 
to reject. His suit is a sort of two-sided one, and its 
form is so perplexing that he does not know what 
line of procedure his pleading should be ready to 
advocate or to dispute. 2. On his behalf I pour 
forth an earnest petition that you will go through 
his papers and get ready any plea that is legally 
competent, instructing him what contentions to put 
forward and how, also what ones to refute. For if 
the current of his case starts from the head-waters 
of your advice, I have no fear of its being weakened 
through any diversion of the stream by his opponents. 

r2 «' 




1. Proverbialiter celebre est saepe moram esse 
meliorem, sicuti et nunc expert! sumus. Men- 
struanus amicus tuus longo istic tempore inspectus 
meruit inter personas nobis quoque caras devinc- 
tasque censeri, opportunus elegans, verecundus 
sobrius, parens religiosus et his morum dotibus 
praeditus ut, quotiens in boni cuiusque adscitur 
amicitias, non amplius consequatur beneficii ipse 
quam tribuat. 2. haec tibi non ut ignoranti, sed 
ut iudicio meo satisfacerem, scripsi. quam ob rem 
triplex causa laetandi : tibi prima, cui amicos sic 
aut instituere aut eligere contingit; Arvernis 
secunda, quibus hoc in eo placuisse confirmo, quod 
te probasse non ambigo ; illi tertia, de quo boni 
quique bona quaeque iudicaverunt. vale. 



1. Quia iustitia vestra iure fit universitati per 
complura recti experimenta venerabilis, idcirco 
singulas quasque personas id ipsum efflagitantes 

* Pegasius and Menstruanus are otherwise unknowTi. 
t Nothing further is known of Explicius. 




1. It is a proverbial platitude that delay is often 
the better course, and now I have found it so. Your 
friend Menstruanus, having been here for a long 
time under my eye, has won the right to be counted 
also amongst my dear and devoted friends. He is a 
congenial companion, with refined manners; he is 
modest and temperate, thrifty and religious, and 
endowed with so excellent a character that when he 
is invited to share the friendship of any of the best 
people he contributes no less benefit than he gains. 
2. This I wTite, not because it is news to you, but 
to do justice to my good opinion of him. There are 
thus three grounds for rejoicing: you have one, in 
having the good fortune to train up or to choose 
friends so successfully ; the Arverni have another, 
for I can state with confidence that they have found 
in him the merit which I am clear that you recognised ; 
and he has the third, in that the best people have 
formed the best possible opinion of him. Farewell. 



1. Since your impartiality is rightly respected by 
the world at large as a result of many experiences 
of your rectitude, I gladly and eagerly dispatch all 
and sundry (as indeed they themselves urgently 



in examen vestrum libens et avidus emitto, quam 
primum ambiens me discussionis, illos simultatis 
onere laxari ; quod demum ita sequetur, si non 
ex solido querimonias partium verecundus censor 
excludas ; quamquam et hoc ipsum, quod copiam 
tui iurgantibus difficile concedis, indicium sit bene 
iudicaturi : quis enim se non ambiat arbitrum legi 
aut pretio aliquid indulturus aut gratiae ? 2. igitur 
ignosce ad tam sanctae conscientiae praerogativam 
raptim perniciterque properantibus, quandoquidem 
sententiam tuam nee victus ut stolidus accusat nee 
victor ut argutus inridet, veritatisque respectu 
dependunt tibi addicti reverentiam, gratiam liberati. 
proinde impense obsecro ut inter Alethium et 
Paulum quae veniunt in disceptationem, mox ut 
utrimque fuerint opposita, discingas. namque, ni 
fallor, supra decemvirales pontificalesque sententias 
aegritudini huius prope interminabilis iurgii sola 
morum tuorum temperantia solita iudicandi salu- 
britate medicabitur. vale. 

^ This interpretation of the words is due to Dr. Semple, 
Qvxiest. Exeg., p. 14. 



desire) to be weighed in the scales of your judgment. 
My design in so doing is to get myself relieved at 
the earliest possible moment from the burden of 
examining the case and them from the burden of a 
quarrel. This wall be accompHshed only if your 
modest reluctance to play the censor does not lead 
you to shut out the grievances of the parties entirely 
from your presence, — and yet the very fact that you 
are so un^\illing to give a hearing to disputants is 
an indication that your judgment will be fair; for 
who would not seek to be chosen as umpire if he were 
ready to concede something to bribery or favour? 
2. Be gentle, therefore, to those who are now 
hurrying with all haste and speed to seek the advan- 
tage of your strict sense of right, for when you give 
the verdict the defeated party never impugns it 
with the idea that he has been outwitted, nor does 
the successful party sneer at it with the idea that he 
has played a clever trick ,^ but in recognition of your 
honesty the condemned respect you and the acquitted 
are grateful to you. And so with the points at issue 
between Alethius and Paulus : I earnestly entreat 
you to settle them as soon as each side has stated 
its case ; for in my opinion, better than any decisions 
of decemviri or pontifices, the mere moderation of 
your character will be able to cure the painfulness 
of this almost interminable dispute by virtue of your 
usual health-giving judgment. Farewell. 





1. Maestissimus haec tibi nuntio. decessit nudius 
tertius non absque iustitio matrona Philomathia,. 
morigera coniunx domina clemens, utilis mater 
pia filia, cui debuerit domi forisque persona minor 
obsequium, maior officium, aequalis adfectum. haec 
cum esset unica iam diu matris amissae, facile diversis 
blandimentorum generibus effecerat ne patri adhuc 
iuveni subolis sexus alterius desideraretur. nunc 
autem per subita suprema virum caelibatu, patrem 
orbitate confodit. his additur quod quinque liberum 
parens inmaturo exitu reddidit infortunatam fecundi- 
tatem. qui parvuli si matre sospite perdidissent 
iam diu debilem patrem, minus pupilli existimarentur. 
2. hanc tamen, si quis haud incassum honor cada- 
veribus impenditur, non vispillonum sandapilari- 
orumque ministeria ominosa tumulavere ; sed cum 
libitinam ipsam flentes omnes, externi quoque, 
prensitarent remorarentur exoscularentur, sacer- 
dotum propinquorumque manibus excepta perpetuis 
sedibus dormienti similior inlata est. post quae 
precatu parentis orbati neniam funebrem non per 

* Desideratus is otherwise unknown. 





1. I write to you in the greatest grief. Three 
days ago there departed from us amid general 
mourning the Lady Philomathia, a dutiful N\ife and 
a kind mistress, a busy mother and a devoted 
daughter, one to whom in social and domestic 
life her inferiors owed respect, her superiors con- 
sideration, her equals affection. Although she was 
an only child and had lost her mother long before, 
yet by her many charming ways she easily prevented 
her father, who was still in the prime of life, from 
grieving over his lack of offspring of the other sex. 
Now by her sudden death she has dealt a cruel blow 
both to the husband whom she has left a mdower 
and to the father whom she has left childless. 
Another trouble is that she was tlie mother of five 
children, and her untimely decease has made her 
large family a misfortune. If the little ones had 
kept their mother and lost their father, who has 
long been disabled, they would seem less orphaned. 
2. But happily in her case (if there is aught but vanity 
in the honours paid to dead bodies) it was not by 
the ill-omened offices of common bearers and 
attendants that she was laid in the tomb ; on the 
contrary, whilst all who attended, even those outside 
the family circle, clasped the very bier, held it back 
and kissed it, her body was lifted up by the hands 
of the clergy and her relatives, and she was conveyed 
to her everlasting home, more like one asleep. After 
this, at the request of her bereaved father, I com- 



elegos sed per hendecasyllabos marmori incisam 
planctu prope calente dictavi. quam si non satis 
improbas, ceteris epigrammatum meorum volu- 
minibus applicandam mercennarius bybliopola sus- 
cipiet; si quod secus, sufficit saxo carmen saxeum 
contineri. 3. hoc enim epitaphion est : 

Occasu celeri feroque raptam 

gnatis quinque patrique coniugique 

hoc flentis patriae maniis locarunt 

matronam Philomathiam sepulchre. 

o splendor generis, decus mariti, 5 

prudens casta decens severa dulcis 

atque ipsis senioribus sequenda, 

discordantia quae solent putari 

morum commoditate copulasti : 

nam vitae comites bonae fuerunt 10 

libertas gravis et pudor facetus. 

hinc est quod decimam tuae saluti 

vix actam trieteridem dolemus 

atque in temporibus vigentis aevi 

iniuste tibi iusta persoluta. 15 

Placeat carmen necne: tu propera civitatemque 
festinus invise ; debes enim consolationis officium 
duorum civium domibus adflictis. quod ita solvas 
deum quaeso, ne umquam tibi redhibeatur. vale. 



posed, almost before the violence of my grief had 
abated, a funeral dirge, not in elegiacs but in 
hendecasyllables, and this has been engraved on 
marble. If you are not seriously displeased with it, 
the bookseller I employ will undertake to add it to 
the other sheets of my epigrams ; ^ but if you feel 
otherwise about it, it is enough that a poem which 
is heavy as stone should be preserved on stone. 
3. This is the funeral inscription : 

" Torn from her father, husband, and five children 
by a swift and merciless death, the Lady Philomathia 
has been laid in this tomb by the hands of her 
weeping fellow-citizens. Pride of your family, 
glory of your husband, wise, chaste, gracious, upright 
and kind, a model even to your elders, you have 
by your sweet reasonableness combined things that 
are wont to be counted opposed, for a serious frank- 
ness and a merry modesty were the constant 
attendants of your virtuous life. For this cause do 
we grieve that you have hardly fulfilled three 
decades of existence and that in the years of vigorous 
Hfe the last dues have been paid to you unduly 

Whether you like this poem or not, bestir yourself 
and make haste to visit our town ; for you owe the 
duty of consolation to the afflicted families of two 
fellow-citizens. I pray God that you may discharge 
that duty without ever requiring a repayment of it 
for yourself. Farewell. 

* For a discussion of this sentence see Introd., p. Ixvi, n. 2. 





1. Quaeris cur ipse iampridem Nemausum pro- 
fectus vestra serum ob adventum desideria producam. 
reddo causas reditus tardioris nee moras meas prodere 
moror, quia quae mihi dulcia sunt tibi quoque. 
inter agros amoenissimos, humanissimos dominos, 
Ferreolum et Apollinarem, tempus voluptuosissi- 
mum exegi. praediorum his iura contermina, 
domicilia vicina, quibus interiecta gestatio peditem 
lassat neque sufficit equitaturo. colles aedibus su- 
periores exercentur vinitori et olivitori : Aracynthum 
et Nysam, celebrata poetarum carminibus iuga, 
censeas. uni domui in plana patentiaque, alteri 
in nemora prospectus ; sed nihilo minus dissimilis 
situs similiter oblectat. 2. quamquam de praedi- 
orum quid nunc amplius positione, cum restat hos- 
pitalitatis ordo reserandus? iam primum saga- 
cissimis in hoc exploratoribus destinatis, qui reditus 
nostri iter aucuparentur, domus utraque non solum 
tramites aggerum publicorum verum etiam calles 
compendiis tortuosos atque pastoria deverticula 
insedit, ne quo casu dispositis officiorum insidiis 
elaberemur. quas incidimus, fateor, sed minime 

* Donidius was an Arvemian (III. 5. 3) and a vir speciabilis 
{ib. § 1). See also VI. 5. On Tonantius see Cann. 24. 34 n. ; 
on Apollinaris, ib. 52 n. 

1 For Aracynthus see note on Carm. 15. 32. The name 
Nysa was applied to various mountains and places associated 
with the cultivation of the vine and the legends of Dionysus ; 
an enumeration of them may be found in any classical 
dictionarj% Cf. Cann. 22. 233. 





1. You ask me why, having started long ago for 
Nemausiis, I am causing you so long a disappoint- 
ment by my tardiness in arriving. I will give you 
my reasons for my belated return, and I will not 
be slow to explain my slowness, for what is 
pleasurable to me is so to you also. I have spent 
the most delicious time in visiting two charming 
properties and two most sympathetic hosts, Fer- 
reolus and Apollinaris. Their estates have a common 
boundary, and their residences are near, being con- 
nected by a road which is long enough to tire the 
pedestrian but hardly long enough for a ride. The 
hills which rise above the buildings are cultivated by 
the vine-dresser and the olive-grower : you would 
think them Aracynthus and Nysa,^ those heights so 
greatly lauded in poetic song. One house has a 
view over flat and open ground, the other looks out 
on woods; yet though they differ in their situation 
they are alike in their charm. 2. But why should I 
say more of the lie of the farms when there remains 
to be disclosed the whole scheme of my entertain- 
ment? First of all, the cleverest scouts were sent 
out to keep watch on the route of my return journey, 
and the two household staffs took up positions not 
only on the various courses of the public higliways 
but also on the rough tracks with their intricate 
short cuts and on the bypaths used by shepherds, 
in order to leave me no chance of eluding the traps 
which their kindness had arranged. I admit that I was 



inviti, iusque iurandum confestim praebere compulsi, 
ne, priusquam septem dies evolverentur, quicquam 
de itineris nostri continuatione meditaremur. 
3. igitur mane cotidiano partibus super hospite prima 
et grata contentio, quaenam potissimum anterius 
edulibus nostris culina fumaret ; nee sane poterat 
ex aequo divisioni lancem ponere vicissitude, licet 
uni domui mecum, alteri cum meis vinculum foret 
propinquitatis, quia Ferreolo praefectorio viro praeter 
necessitudinem sibi debitam dabat aetas et dignitas 
primi invitatoris praerogativam. 4. ilicet a deliciis 
in delicias rapiebamur. vix quodcumque vestibulum 
intratum, et ecce hue ^ sphaeristarum contrastantium 
paria inter rotatiles catastropharum gyros du- 
plicabantur, hue inter aleatoriarum vocum com- 
petitiones frequens crepitantium fritillorum tessera- 
rumque strepitus audiebatur; hue libri adfatim 
in promptu (videre te crederes aut grammaticales 
pluteos aut Athenaei cuneos aut armaria exstructa 
bybliopolarum) : sic tamen quod, qui inter matro- 
narum cathedras codices erant, stilus his religiosus 
inveniebatur, qui vero per subsellia patrumfamilias, 
hi coturno Latiaris eloquii nobilitabantur ; licet 
quaepiam volumina quorumpiam auctorum servarent 
in causis disparibus dicendi parilitatem : nam similii 

^ hue def. Mohr, Praef. p. xvii. 

^ Ferreolus was related to Papianilla, the wife of Sidonius 
We do not know the degree of relationship between Sidonius 
and Apolhnaris. 

* The meaning is uncertain. See V. 17. 7 for a longer 
description of a ball-game. 

3 Possibly Hadrian's famous educational institution at 
Rome (IX. 14. 2), but various provincial towns copied both 
the idea and the name (IX. 9. 13). 



caught, but by no means against my will, and I was 
at once forced to take an oath that I would not give 
a thought to the resumption of my journey till seven 
days were passed. 3. Each morning saw the start of 
a really charming contest between the two parties 
about their guest, to decide which of the two kitchens 
should be the earher to steam with my meal; and 
it was really impossible to keep the balance even by 
alternation, although one house had the tie of kinship 
with myself, the other with my family;^ because 
Ferreolus is of prefectorian rank, and his age and 
standing, added to the just claims of his rela- 
tionship, gave him a prior right to invite me. 
4. Well, I was hurried from bliss to bliss. Hardly 
had I entered one vestibule or the other when behold ! 
I found on one side opposing ball-players bending 
low amid the whirling evolutions of the catastrophae ; ^ 
in another quarter I would hear the clatter of rattling 
dice-boxes and of dice mingled with the rival shouts 
of the gamesters ; in another part were books in any 
number ready to hand; you might have imagined 
yourself looking at the shelves of a professional 
scholar or at the tiers in the Athenaeum ^ or at the 
towering presses of the booksellers. The arrange- 
ment was such that the manuscripts near the ladies' 
seats were of a devotional type, while those 
p.mong the gentlemen's benches were works dis- 
tinguished by the grandeur of Latin eloquence ; the 
latter, however, included certain writings of par- 
ticular authors w^hich preserve a similarity of style 
though their doctrines are different;^ for it was a 

* i.e. Christian as well as pagan writers came in this 
category'. Sidonius wishes to make it clear that Christian 
reading was not confined to the women. 



scientiae viri, hinc Augustinus hinc Varro, hinc 
Horatius hinc Prudentius lectitabantur. 5. quos 
inter Adamantius Origenes ^ Turranio Rufino inter- 
pretatus sedulo fidei nostrae lectoribus inspiciebatur ; 
pariter et, prout singulis cordi, di versa censentes 
sermocinabamur, cur a quibusdam protomystarum 
tamquam scaevus cavendusque tractator impro- 
baretur, quamquam sic esset ad verbum sententiam- 
que translatus ut nee Apuleius Phaedonem sic 
Platonis neque Tullius Ctesiphontem sic Demosthenis 
in usum regulamque Romani sermonis exscripserint. 
6. studiis hisce dum nostrum singuli quique, prout 
libuerat, occupabantur, ecce et ab archimagiro 
adventans, qui tempus instare curandi corpora 
moneret, quern quidem nuntium per spatia clepsydrae 
horarum incrementa servantem probabat competenter 
ingressum quinta digrediens. prandebamus breviter 

^ an Origenis? 

^ Scientia here means expert skill, artistic mastery, as in 
the next letter, § 6 ; the meaning " erudition " would not suit 
the mention of Horace and Prudentius, who are compared as 
masters of lyric poetry, and the previous sentence shows that 
Sidonius is thinlung only of style, or of style and diction. It 
is strange to find Varro ranked as an artist in prose with 
Augustine, and almost as strange to find him classed among 
those " distinguished by the grandeur of Latin eloquence." 
Sidonius expresses admiration for Varro's style also in Epist. 
VIII. 6. 18. As a matter of fact, scientia in the sense of 
erudition was the leading characteristic of Varro, as QuintiUan 
says in a passage which gives the he direct to these two 
sentences of Sidonius (Varro " is more Ukely to enhance one's 
knowledge than one's style," plus scientiae conlatums quam 
eloquentiae, Inst. Or. X. 1 . 95) ; and Augustine himself says very 
much the same thing {Civ. Dei VI. 2). Augustine drew largely 
upon Varro's historical and antiquarian researches, and 
frequently mentions him in the De Civitate Dei. It may be a 



frequent practice to read wTiters whose artistry 
was of a similar kind ^ — here Augustine, there 
Varro, here Horace, there Prudentius. 5. Amongst 
these books, the translation of the Adamantius of 
Origen by Turranius Rufinus ^ was diligently 
studied by readers of our faith. We would all join 
in a discussion, expressing our various views just as we 
felt inclined. We debated why Origen was con- 
demned by some of our chief hierophants as an inept 
and dangerous expositor, and yet his works had been 
translated into Latin with such faithfulness to the 
letter and the spirit that Apuleius could not be said 
to have turned Plato's Phaedo or TuUy Demosthenes' 
Ctesiphon^ into such a perfect expression of the theory 
and the usage of Latin speech. 6. While all and 
sundry occupied themselves in these pursuits 
according to their individual tastes, a messenger 
would approach from the head cook to tell us that 
the time for refreshment was at hand. He had his 
eye on the passage of the hours as marked by the 
water-clock, and as the fifth hour was just departing 
he was proved to have arrived just at the right 
moment. The luncheon was at once short and 

vague recollection of this that makes Sidonius compare the 
two as literary artists. 

* Turranius (or Tyrannius) Rufinus, a contemporary of 
Jerome, translated the five books of dialogues ' ' On the tnie 
belief in God," falsely ascribed to Origen, in which Adamantius 
is the chief speaker. The translation was certainly not faith- 
ful; Rufinus was fond of altering or modifying his originals, 
oft^n in the direction of orthodoxy. 

' These translations by Apuleius and Cicero are no longer 
extant, though we still possess Cicero's De Optimo Genere 
Oratorum, which was meant as an introduction to his transla- 
tions of the speeches for and against Ctesiphon by Demos- 
thenes {De Corona) and Aeschines {In Ctesiphontem). 



copiose, senatorium ^ ad morem, quo insitum in- 
stitutumque niultas epulas paucis parabsidibusapponi, 
quamvis convivium per edulia nunc assa nunc 
iurulenta varietur, inter bibendum narratiunculae, 
quarum cognitu hilararemur institueremur, quia 
eas bifariam orditas laetitia peritiaque comitabantur. 
quid multa ? sancte pulchre abundanter accipie- 
bamur. 7. inde surgentes, si Vorocingi eramus (hoc 
uni praedio nomen), ad sarcinas et deversorium 
pedem referebamus ; si Prusiani (sic fundus alter 

* seniorum Fertig. 

^ Notable among the many attempts to restrain the 
extravagance of the upper classes hi their feasts was the action 
of C. Fabricius Luscinus, who as censor in 275 B.C. expelled 
from the Senate P. Cornelius Rufinus (an ancestor of the 
dictator Sulla : Plutarch, Sull. 1 ) because he possessed ten 
pounds (or, according to another account, more than ten 
pounds) of silver plate. This incident is recalled again and 
again by writers of later ages (see, for example, the references 
given by Friedlaender on Juvenal IX. 142), and it, or the law 
(if there was such a law) on which Fabricius acted, is probably 
the ultimate source of the custom mentioned here. Such 
sumptuary restrictions as those of Fabricius and many others 
were powerless to stem the tide of luxury, but it is interesting 
to find his action cited even as late as Tertullian in order to 
lash the extravagance of the times. In Apol. c. 6, after 
referring to the expulsion of P. Cornelius from the Senate, he 
goes on to say that in his time " whole mines of silver " are 
wrought into dishes. 

The word parabsis {parapsis, paropsis) is appHed to a large 
square dish : see Mayor on Juvenal III. 142. 

2 The difficulty of interpreting deversorium is greatly 
increased by the use here of the first person plural. Nearly 
everywhere in this paragraph the meaning must be really 
plural, but if we take it so at the end of the first sentence we 
shall have to assume that Sidonius was not the only guest 
staying there at the time; otherwise the words ad sarcinas 
. . . referebamus would scarcely be intelligible. This notion. 


lavish, in the style of senators, who have an in- 
herited and established practice of having abundant 
viands served up on few dishes,^ although the meal 
is varied by having some of the meats roasted and 
others stewed. As we sat over our wine there 
were short stories, for amusement or instruction; 
they were started in two sets, bringing mirth and 
edification respectively. To sum up, our entertain- 
ment was moral, elegant, and profuse. 7. We then 
rose from table, and if we were at Vorocingus (this 
was the name of one of the estates) we returned to 
our baggage and our lodging ; 2 if we were at Prusianum 

however, seems at first sight to be contradicted by assecu- 
larum meorum in § 8 ; if there were other guests, their servants 
as well as those of Sidonius must have been included in the 
convivial company. But Sidonius would know and recognise 
his own servants, and it does not really follow that there were 
no servants of other guests in the indiscriminate crowd. Much 
difficulty is removed if we assume that the plural verbs have 
a plural meaning throughout the paragraph; moreover, 
several parts of this letter seem to imply that there were other 
guests besides Sidonius. 

Deversorium may be applied to temporary quarters of 
various kinds. In I. 5. 9 it means " inn " or " boarding-house " ; 
the latter is perhaps the meaning in VII. 2. 6. Here it seems to 
refer to some such accommodation near the house of Apol- 
linaris. Building was still going on at both houses (§ 8 init.); 
it was indeed going on at Vorocingus when Sidonius wrote the 
epilogue to his poems, and his mention of it in Carm. 24. 54 sq. 
may have been suggested by what ho had recently seen on the 
visit described here. Thus the inferences sometimes drawn 
from this letter about the Hmited accommodation at Gallo- 
Roman country-houses must not be taken too seriously. 

Dr. Semple makes the tempting suggestion that deversorium 
both here and in II. 2. 13 means " guest-room." We should 
then have to suppose that Sidonius was staying with Apol- 
linaris at Vorocingus, and that after lunching there he simply 
retired to his own room for the siesta; on the other hand, 
when he had lunched at Prusianum, one of the sons of 



nuncupabatur), Tonantium cum fratribus, lectissimo? 
aequaevorum nobilium principes, stratis suis eicie- 
bamus, quia nee facile crebro cubilium nostrorum 
instrumenta circumferebantur. excusso torpore meri- 
diano paulisper equitabamus, quo facilius pectora 
marcida cibis cenatoriae fami exacueremus. 
8. balneas habebat in opere uterque hospes, in usu 
neuter; sed cum vel pauxillulum bibere desisset 
assecularum meorum famulorumque turba com- 
potrix, quorum cerebris hospitales creterrae nimium 
immersae dominabantur, vicina fonti aut fluvio 
raptim scrobis fodiebatur, in quam forte cum lapidum 
cumulus ambustus demitteretur, antro in hemi- 
sphaerii formam corylis flexibilibus ^ intexto fossa 
inardescens operiebatur, sic tamen ut superiectis 
Cilicum velis patentia intervalla virgarum lumine 
excluso tenebrarentur, vaporem repulsura salientem, 
qui undae ferventis aspergine flammatis silicibus 
excuditur. 9. hie nobis trahebantur horae non 
absque sermonibus salsis iocularibusque ; quos inter 
halitu nebulae stridentis oppletis involutisque salu- 
berrimus sudor eliciebatur ; quo, prout libuisset, 
effuso coctilibus aquis ingerebamur, quarumque^ 
fotu cruditatem nostram tergente resoluti aut fon- 
tano deinceps frigore putealique aut fluviali copia 

1 flexilibus R, fortasse recte. 

* quarumque LV : hanimquc (h in ras. N). 

Ferreolus gave up his own bed to him. But the use of the 
jjlural above mentioned seems against this view. Again, as 
Sidonius tells us in § 4 that whenever he entered either 
vestibule he found games going on, the most natural inference 
is that he was not staying in either house. In the third place, 
if he were staying with either of his hosts, surely he would 
have told ns which of them had the pleasure of putting him 
up, especialty as he makes so much in § 3 of their friendly 



(so the other property was called) we turned out of 
their beds Tonantius ^ and his brothers, the flower 
of all the young nobles of their age, because it was 
not easy to carry our own sleeping-kit so often from 
place to place. After shaking off the midday 
drowsiness we took short rides to whet our appetites, 
jaded with eating, to the keenness needful for dinner. 

8. Both my entertainers had baths in course of 
erection; in neither case were they in working 
order. However, when the convivial crowd con- 
sisting of my attendants and the household servants, 
whose heads the hospitable bowl was wont to souse 
and overpower, had left off drinking, at least for the 
moment, a trench would be hastily dug close to the 
spring or the river, and a pile of heated stones poured 
into it. Then while the ditch was heating it was 
roofed over with a dome constructed of pliant hazel 
twigs twined into a hemispherical shape ; in addition, 
rugs of hair-cloth were thro^\^l over this roof, shutting 
out the light and darkening the open spaces between 
the twigs, so as to keep in the rising steam which is 
created by pouring boiling water on hot stones. 

9. Here we whiled away the hours with no lack of 
witty and humorous conversation, in the course of 
which we became wrapped and choked in the breath 
of the hissing mist, which drew forth a wholesome 
perspiration. When this had poured out sufficiently 
to please us we plunged into the hot water. Its 
kindly warmth relaxed us and cleared our clogged 
digestions, and then we braced ourselves in turn with 
the cold water of the spring and the well or in 

contest for the pleasure of feeding him. In II. 2. 13, however, 
Dr. Seraple's interpretation of deversoriuni may be right. 
^ The young Tonantius is mentioned in Carni. 24. 34. 



solidabamur: siquidem domibus medius it Vardo 
fluvius, nisi cum deflua nive pastus impalluit, flavis 
ruber glareis et per alveum perspicuus quietus 
calculosusque neque ob hoc minus piscium ferax 
delicatorum. 10. dicerem et cenas et quidem 
unctissimas, nisi terminum nostrae loquacitati, 
quem verecundia non adhibet, charta posuisset; 
quarum quoque replicatio fieret amoena narratu, 
nisi epistulae tergum madidis sordidare calamis 
erubesceremus. sed quia et ipsi in procinctu 
sumus teque sub ope Christi actutum nobis invisere 
placet, expeditius tibi cenae amicorum in mea 
cena tuaque commemorabuntur, modo nos quam 
primum hebdomadis exactae spatia completa votivae 
restituant esuritioni, quia disruptum ganea stoma- 
clmm nulla sarcire res melius quam parsimonia solet. 


1. Amo in te quod litteras amas et usquequaque 

praeconiis cumulatissimis excolere ^ contendo tantae 

diligentiae generositatem, per quam nobis non 

solum initia tua verum etiam studia nostra com- 

1 extoUere T. 

^ The Gard, a name known to most people from the famous 
Pont du Gard, near Nimes. This is the only passage where 
the ancient name of the river is mentioned. 

* Hesperius is praised also in IV. 22. 1. He taught the 
son of Ruricius, three of whose letters are addressed to him. 



the full flow of the river ; for I should explain that 
the river Vardo ^ flows midway between the houses. 
Except when it is swollen by the melting of the 
snows and turns yellowish, it has a red tinge caused 
by the brownish shingle, and it passes down its 
channels transparent, smooth, and pebbly, but is 
none the less on that account prolific in choice 
fishes. 10. I should have gone on to tell you of 
our dinners — sumptuous ones, I assure you — had 
not my paper imposed upon my chatter a limit 
which my sense of decency is failing to set. The 
record of these feasts would indeed form a pleasant 
tale, did I not blush to disfigure the back of my 
letter with a " soaked " pen. But as I am now 
approaching you in person and intend with Christ's 
help to visit you immediately, the dinners of my 
friends will be more expeditiously related when you 
and I are dining together. I only hope that the 
completion of a week's interval will see the prompt 
restoration of that feeling of hunger for which I 
yearn: when the stomach is upset by a debauch, 
nothing repairs it so well as abstemiousness. 


1. What I love in you is that you are a lover of 
letters, and I strive everywhere to glorify with the 
most profuse acclamations the noble spirit of your 
great industry, by which you make me think well 
not only of your first attempts but also of my own 


VOL. I, 9 


niendas. nam cum videmus in huiusmodi discipli- 
nam iuniorum ingenia succrescere, propter quam nos 
quoque subduximus ferulae manum, copiosissi- 
mum fructum nostri laboris adipischnur. illud 
appone, quod tantum increbruit multitude desi- 
diosorum ut, nisi vel paucissimi quique meram 
linguae Latiaris proprietatem de trivialium bar- 
barismorum robigine vindicaveritis, cam brevi 
abolitam defleamus interemptamque : sic omnes 
nobilium sermonum purpurae per incuriam vulgi 
decolorabuntur. 2. sed istinc alias : interea tu 
quod petis accipe. petis autem ut, si qui versiculi 
mihi fluxerint postquam ab alterutro discessimus, 
hos tibi pro quadam morarum mercede pernumerem. 
dicto pareo ; nam praeditus es quamquam iuvenis 
hac animi maturitate, ut tibi etiam natu priores 
gerere morem concupiscamus. ecclesia nuper ex- 
structa Lugduni est, quae studio papae Patientis 
summum coepti operis accessit, viri sancti strenui, 
severi misericordis quique per uberem munificentiam 
in pauperes humanitatemque non minora bonae 
conscientiae culmina levet. 3. huius igitur aedis 
extimis rogatu praefati antistitis tumultuarium 
carmen inscripsi trochaeis triplicibus adhuc mihi 

^ Juvenal I. 15. 

' This church, which replaced an older one, was dedicated 
to St. Justus. It was destroyed by the Huguenots in the 
year 1562. Bishop Patiens of Lyons, a very wealthy prelate, 
gave freely of his means for the building and restoration of 
churches and for the rehef of distress. When Euric laid waste 
the lands which he overran after his victory in a.d. 471 
(Introd., p. xxix), Patiens rescued the inhabitants from the 



studies. For when I see our young men of ability 
rising in their turn to cultivate that art in pursuit of 
which I too " flinched from the rod," ^ I win a most 
ample harvest from my own efforts. Consider too that 
the mob of the sluggards has so gro^vn in numbers that 
unless there are at least a modest few like yourself to 
defend the exact use of the language of Latium from 
tlie rust of vulgar barbarisms, we shall in a short time 
be lamenting its extinction and annihilation, so sadly 
will all the bright ornaments of noble expression be 
dulled by the slovenliness of the mob. 2. But of 
this more some other time : meanwhile let me give 
you what you ask for. It is your wish that, if any 
humble verses have flowed from my pen since we 
separated, I should deliver them to you as a kind of 
payment for the length of my absence. I obey your 
command ; for though you are young you are endowed 
with such ripeness of mind that even we who are your 
elders are eager t6 meet your wishes. A church 
has recently been built at Lugdunum, and the 
undertaking has come to the point of completion 
through the zeal of Bishop Patiens,^ a man both 
holy and active, strict and compassionate, and one 
who is building up by his noble generosity to the 
poor and by his kindliness the not less lofty edifice 
of a guileless conscience. 3. For the far end of this 
temple, at the request of the aforesaid dignitary, I 
have written offhand an inscription in the three- 
trochee metre ,3 with which up to this date I, and 

horrors of famine, and he rendered a similar service to Clermont 
at a critical time. See Epist. VI. 12, which is addressed to him. 
* In Carm. 23. 25 sqq. the hendecasyllabic metre is more 
fully described as consisting of a spondee, a dactyl, and three 
trochees, i.e. — |_ww|_w|-w|->-'. 



iamque tibi perfamiliaribus. namque ab hexa- 
metris eminentium poetarum Constantii et Secundini 
vicinantia altari basilicae latera clarescunt, quos 
in hanc paginam admitti nostra quam maxume 
verecundia vetat, quam suas otiositates trepidanter 
edentem meliorum carminum comparatio premit. 
4. nam sicuti novam nuptam nihil minus quam 
pulchrior pronuba decet, sicuti, si vestiatur albo, 
fuscus quisque fit nigrior, sic nostra, quantula est 
cumque, tubis circumfusa potioribus stipula vilescit, 
quam mediam loco, infimam merito despicabiliorem 
pronuntiari non imperitia modo sed et arrogantia 
facit. quapropter illorum iustius epigrammata 
micant quam istaec, quae imaginarie tantum et 
quodammodo umbratiliter effingimus. sed quorsum 
ista? quin potius paupertinus flagitatae cantilenae 
culmus immurmuret. 

Quisquis pontificis patrisque nostri 

conlaudas Patientis hie laborem, 

voti compote supplicatione 

concessum experiare quod rogabis. 

aedis celsa nitet nee in sinistrum 5 

aut dextrum trahitur, sed arce frontis 

ortum prospicit aequinoctialem. 

intus lux micat atque bratteatum 

sol sic sollicitatur ad lacunar, 

fulvo ut concolor erret in metallo. 10 

distinctum vario nitore marmor 

percurrit cameram solum fenestras, 

ac sub versicoloribus figuris 

1 See introd. to I. 1. 

* His poetry is praised in V. 8. 



henceforth you also, can claim intimate famiHarity. 
For the two sides of the basilica where they adjoin 
the altar are glorified by the hexameters of the 
eminent poets Constantius ^ and Secundinus ; ^ these 
verses my modesty absolutely debars from a place 
in this letter, for a comparison with better poetry is 
too severe for a shrinking soul who is nervously ex- 
hibiting his own casual efforts. 4. For just as nothing 
becomes a bride so ill as a brideswoman of greater 
beauty, just as a man of dark skin is made blacker 
if clothed in white, so my humble pipe, puny 
as it is, becomes still meaner when set amid superior 
clarions ; foisted into a place in their midst when it 
takes the lowest place in merit, it earns a double 
contempt by such a combination of presumption and 
incompetence. So the inscriptions by the poets I 
have named are more justly honoured than this of 
mine, which is a mere creation of hollow conceits and 
what may be called shadowy outlines. But why all 
this preamble ? Rather let my sorry reed murmur 
the notes of the doggerel you have demanded of me : 
** All you who here admire the work of Patiens, 
our bishop and father, may you by effectual supplica- 
tion obtain the boon you ask for ! The lofty temple 
sparkles and does not incline to right or left, but with 
its towering front faces the sunrise of the equinox. 
Within it the light flashes and the sunshine is so 
tempted to the gilded ceiling that it travels over the 
tawny metal, matching its hue. Marble diversified 
by various shining tints pervades the vaulting,^ the 
floor, the windows ; forming designs of diverse colour, 
a verdant grass-green encrustation brings winding lines 

* This probably refers to the semi-dome over the apse, which 
regularly contained mosaic decoration. 



vernans herbida crusta sapphiratos 

flectit per prasinum vitrum lapillos. 15 

huic est porticus applicata triplex 

fulmentis Aquitanicis superba, 

ad cuius specimen remotiora 

claudunt atria porticus secundae, 

et campum medium procul locatas 20 

vestit saxea silva per columnas. 

hinc agger sonat, hinc Arar resultat, 

hinc sese pedes atque eques reflectit 

stridentum et moderator essedorum, 

curvorum hinc chorus helciariorum 25 

responsantibus alleluia ripis 

ad Christum levat amnicum celeuma. 

sic, sic psallite, nauta vel viator; 

namque iste est locus omnibus petendus, 

omnes quo via ducit ad salutem. 30 

5. Ecce parui tamquam iunior imperatis : tu 
modo fac memineris multiplicato me faenore re- 
munerandum, quoque id facilius possis voluptuosi- 
usque, opus est ut sine dissimulatione lectites, sine 
fine lecturias ; neque patiaris ut te ab hoc proposito 
propediem coniunx domum feliciter ducenda de- 
flectat, sisque oppido meminens quod olim Marcia 
Hortensio, Terentia Tullio, Calpurnia Plinio, Pu- 
dentilla Apuleio, Rusticiana Symniacho legentibus 
meditantibusque candelas et candelabra tenuerunt. 
6. certe si praeter oratoriam ^ contubernio feminarum 
poeticum ingenium et oris tui limam frequentium 
studiorum cotibus expolitam quereris obtundi, re- 

1 rem oratoriam codd. plerique : fortasse artem oratoriam. 

^ Cloisters, in front of the atrium. A " triple colonnade " is 
one with three rows of columns. 


of sapphire-hued stones over the leek-green glass. 
Attached to this edifice is a triple colonnade rising 
proudly on columns of the marble of Aquitania.^ A 
second colonnade on the same plan closes the 
atrium at the farther end, and a stone forest clothes the 
middle area ^ with columns standing well apart. On 
one side is the noisy high-road, on the other the 
echoing Arar; on the first the traveller on foot or 
on horse and the drivers of creaking carriages turn 
round; on the other, the company of the bargemen, 
their backs bent to their work, raise a boatmen's 
shout to Christ, and the banks echo their alleluia. 
Sing, traveller, thus; sing, boatman, thus; for 
towards this place all should make their way, since 
through it runs the road which leads to salvation." 

5. See now, I have obeyed your command as though 
I were your junior ; remember, however, that I have 
to be repaid with multiple interest. That you may 
do so the more easily and pleasantly, you must read 
constantly and >vithout carelessness, and your thirst 
for reading must be without limit. You must not 
allow the thought that you %vill soon be happily 
married to turn you from this determination, ever 
remembering that in the old times of Marcia and 
Hortensius, Terentia and Tullius, Calpumia and 
Pliny, Pudentilla and Apuleius, Rusticiana and 
Symmachus, the wives held candles and candlesticks 
for their husbands whilst they read or composed. 

6. And by all means, if you lament that in addition 
to your oratorical skill your poetical capacity and 
the keen edge of your tongue, which has been 
sharpened on the whetstone of industrious study, are 
blunted by the society of ladies, remember that 

' The nave. 



miniscere quod saepe versum Corinna cum suo 
Nasone complevit, Lesbia cum Catullo, Caesennia 
cum Gaetulico, Argentaria cum Lucano, Cynthia 
cum Propertio, Delia cum TibuUo. proinde liquido 
claret studentibus discendi per nuptias occasionem 
tribui, desidibus excusationem. igitur incumbe, 
neque apud te litterariam curam turba depretiet 
imperitorum, quia natura comparatum est ut in 
omnibus artibus hoc sit scientiae pretiosior pompa, 
quo rarior. vale. 



1. Si nobis pro situ spatiisque regionum vicinare- 
mur nee a se praesentia mutua vasti itineris longin- 
quitate discriminaretur, nihil apicum raritati licere 
in coeptae familiaritatis officia permitterem neque 
iam semel missa fundamenta certantis amicitiae 
diversis honorum generibus exstruere cessarem. 
sed animorum coniunctioni separata utrique porrecti- 
oribus terminis obsistit habitatio, equidem semel 
devinctis parum nocitura pectoribus. 2. sed tamen 
ex ipsa communium municipiorum discretione pro- 
cedit quod, cum amicissimi simus, raritatem collo- 
quii de prolixa terrarum interiectione venientem 

1 See Carm. 23. 161 n. « See Carm. 9. 259 n. 

* Rusticus is mentioned in VIII. 11.3 carm. 36. He lived 
in or near Bordeaux. The language of this letter is extra- 
ordinarily stilted. 



Corinna ^ often helped her Naso to complete a verse, 
and so it was with Lesbia and Catullus, Caesennia and 
Gaetulicus,2 Argentaria and Lucan, Cynthia and Pro- 
pertius, Delia and TibuUus. So it is clear as daylight 
that literary workers find in marriage an op})ortunity 
for study and idlers an excuse for shirking it. To work, 
then, and do not let the cultivation of literature lose 
its value in your eyes because of the multitude of the 
ignorant ; for it is a law of nature that in all the 
arts the splendour of attainment rises in value as it 
becomes rarer. Farewell. 



1. If we were neighbours in respect of domicile 
and distance and if our meeting face to face were not 
held off by the long mileage of an enormous journey, 
I would never allow the rarity of letters to have 
any effect upon the attentions proper to the intimacy 
we have contracted; nor would I be slow about 
building on the foundations (already laid once for all) 
of an emulously cultivated friendship by piling up 
various manifestations of my regard. But the union 
of our souls is obstructed by the extended space 
between our habitations, though this can certainly 
never injure our affections, which are joined for ever. 
2. Nevertheless, it follows from the very separation 
of our respective townships that just because we are 
such close friends we are inclined to treat the rarity 
of our intercourse, which is due to the long stretch 
of country that lies between us, as a sin on each 



in reatum volumus transferre communem, cum de 
naturaliiim rerum difficultate nee eulpa nos debeat 
manere nee venia. domine inlustris, gerulos littera- 
rum de disciplinae tuae institutione formatos et 
morum erilium verecundiam praeferentes oppor- 
tune adinisi, patienter audivi, competenter explicui. 



1. Misisti tu quidem lembum mobilem solidum 
lecti capaeem iamque cum piscibus ; turn praeterea 
gubematorem longe peritum, remiges etiam ro- 
bustos expeditosque, qui scilicet ea rapiditate 
praetervolant amnis adversi terga qua deflui. sed 
dabis veniam quod invitanti tibi in piscationem comes 
venire dissimulo ; namque me multo decumbentibus 
nostris validiora maeroris retia tenent, quae sunt 
amicis quaeque et externis indolescenda. unde te 
quoque puto, si rite germano moveris adfectu, quo 
temporis puncto paginam banc sumpseris, de reditu 
potius cogitaturum. 2. Severiana, sollieitudo com- 
munis, inquietata primum lentae tussis impulsu 
febribus quoque iam fatigatur, hisque per noctes 
ingravescentibus ; propter quod optat exire in 
suburbanum ; litteras tuas denique cum sumeremus, 

* On Agricola see introductory n. to I. 2. Severiana (§ 2) 
was the daughter of Sidonius. This letter was probably written 
at Lyons. 



other's part, although when it is a case of natural 
obstacles we cannot rightly be the objects either of 
blame or of forgiveness. Illustrious lord, the bearers 
of your letters, men trained according to the prin- 
ciples of your system and displaying the modesty 
characteristic of their master, were admitted by me 
with due promptitude ; I listened to them patiently 
and dispatched their business suitably. Farewell. 



1. You have sent me a boat which is swift and sub- 
stantial, big enough to hold a couch and a load of 
fish too ; also a boatman of wide experience and oars- 
men so strong and brisk that they fly over the surface 
of the water as swiftly up-stream as down-stream. 
But you must excuse me for not availing myself of your 
invitation to join you in a fishing excursion ; for with 
illness in our family I am held here by a much stronger 
kind of net, a net of affliction, which must needs bring 
grief to friends and strangers alike : so I think that if 
you feel a genuine brotherly affection for me, as soon 
as ever you take up this sheet you will think rather 
of returning here. 2. Severiana, our common 
anxiety, was in the first instance racked by an attack 
of persistent coughing, and is now beginning to 
suffer severely from bouts of fever as well, which 
become more acute at night; so she is anxious to 
move to our home outside the town ; in fact, at the 
very moment that 1 took your letter in my hand we 



egredi ad villulam iam parabamus. quocirca tu 
seu venias seu moreris, preces nostras orationibus 
iuva ut ruris auram desideranti salubriter cedat 
ipsa vegetatio. certe ego vel tua soror inter spem 
metumque suspensi credidimus eius taedium augen- 
dum si voluntati iacentis obstitissemus. 3. igitur 
ardori civitatis atque torpori tarn nos quam domum 
totam praevio Christo pariter eximimus simulque 
medicorum consilia vitamus assidentum dissidentum- 
que, qui parum docti et satis seduli languidos multos 
officiosissime occidunt. sane contubernio nostro 
iure amicitiae Justus adhibebitur, quern, si iocari 
liberet in tristibus, facile convincerem Chironica 
magis institutum arte quam Machaonica. quo 
diligentius postulandus est Christus obsecrandus- 
que ut valetudini, cuius curationem cura nostra 
lion invenit, potentia superna medeatur. vale. 



1. Epistulam tuam nobis Marcellinus togatus 
exhibuit, homo peritus virque amicorum. quae 

^ Possibly veterinary medicine, with which the name of 
Chiron was specially associated in late Roman times ; opposed 
to Machaonica ars, human medicine, from Machaon, physician 
of the Greeks in the Trojan war; but there may be a play on 
the Greek x^^P^^'> " worse" : " the art of making worse." 



were making preparations to move to our little country 
house. Accordingly, whether you come here or stay 
away, support my prayers by your own petitions that 
as she pines for the country air even the motion of the 
journey may turn out for the good of her health. 
Anyhow, both your sister and I, though wavering 
between hope and fear, believed that our patient's 
discomfort would certainly be increased if we opposed 
her inclination. 3. Therefore (under Christ's guid- 
ance) we are taking ourselves and our whole house- 
hold away from the heat and the oppressiveness of 
the city, and at the same time escaping from 
the counsels of the physicians, who attend and 
contend at the bedside ; for with their scanty 
knowledge and immense zeal they most dutifully 
kill many sick folks. Justus indeed will be admitted 
to our household by his claim as a personal friend, 
though if one had been inclined to jest in sad circum- 
stances, I should easily have proved to you that he 
is better trained in the art of Chiron ^ than in that 
of Machaon. So we must the more earnestly make 
our appeal to Christ and beseech Him that, as our 
diligence has procured no cure for the patient's 
malady, the power that is from above may cure it. 



1. Marcellinus 2 the advocate, a man of tried 
wisdom and of many friends, showed me your letter. 

* Serranus is otherwise unknown. 

* See Carm. 23. 465. 



primoribus verbis salutatione libata reliquo sui 
tractu, qui quidem grandis est, patroni tui Petronii 
Maximi imperatoris laudes habebat ; quern tanien 
tu pertinacius aut amabilius quam reetius veriusque 
felicissimum appellas, propter hoc quippe, cur per 
amplissimos fascium titulos fuerit evectus usque 
ad imperium. sed sententiae tali numquam ego 
assentior, ut fortunatos putem qui rei publicae 
praecipitibus ac lubricis culminibus insistunt. 
2. nam dici nequit quantum per horas fert in hac 
vita miseriarum vita felicium istorum, si tamen sic 
sunt pronuntiandi qui sibi hoc nomen ut Sulla 
praesumunt, nimirum qui supergressi ius fasque 
commune summam beatitudinem existimant sum- 
mam potestatem, hoc ipso satis miseriores, quod 
parum intellegunt inquietissimo se subiacere famula- 
tui. nam sicut hominibus reges, it a regibus domin- 
andi desideria dominantur. 3. hie si omittamus 
antecedentium principum casus vel secutorum, 
solus iste pecuHaris tuus Maximus maximo nobis 
ad ista documento poterit esse, qui quamquam in 
arcem praefectoriam patriciam consularemque in- 
trepidus ascenderat eosque quos gesserat magistratus 
ceu recurrentibus orbitis inexpletus iteraverat, cum 
tamen venit omnibus viribus ad principalis apicis 
abruptum, quandam potestatis immensae vertiginem 
sub corona patiebatur nee sustinebat dominus esse, 

^ On Petronius Maximus see In trod., p. xx. 



In its opening it lightly conveys a greeting, and then 
for the rest of its length (which is considerable) it 
contains the praises of your protector, the Emperor 
Petronius Maximus,^ to whom, with more persistency 
or kindliness than justice or truth, you give the title 
of Most Happy, your reason being that he made his 
way up through all the most distinguished magisterial 
offices and finally reached the Imperial throne. 
But I can never agree with the view that counts as 
prosperous those who stand on the precipitous and 
slippery heights of public life. 2. For it is beyond 
the power of words to tell of the miseries which are 
endured every hour, life being what it is to-day, in 
the lives of these so-called happy men — if indeed 
they have any right to be so called when they 
appropriate this title in the spirit of a Sulla as men 
who have transgressed the universal principles of 
law and right and who consider supreme power to be 
supreme bliss, when all the while they are particularly 
wretched just because they fail to see that they are 
subject to a most harassing servitude. For as kings 
rule over men, so does the passion for mastery rule 
over kings. 3. Even if we here ignore the calamities 
of the rulers who preceded or succeeded him, this 
very Maximus whom you take as your hero will 
prove our point with the maximum of cogency ; for 
although he had made his way up without faltering to 
the eminences of prefect, patrician and consul, and 
although, still unsatisfied, he had repeated the magis- 
tracies he had held as if they moved in recurring 
orbits, yet when by straining every nerve he readied 
the precarious peak of Imperial majesty, he felt be- 
neath his crown dizziness, the result of boundless 
power ; and the very man who had found it unbearable 



qui non sustinuerat esse sub domino. 4. denique 
require in supradicto vitae prioris gratiam potentiam 
diuturnitatem eque diverso principatus paulo amplius 
quam bimenstris originem turbinem fmem : profecto 
invenies hominem beatiorem prius fuisse quam 
beatissimus nominaretur. igitur ille, cuius anterius 
epulae mores, pecuniae pompae, litterae fasces, 
patrimonia patrocinia florebant, cuius ipsa sic de- 
nique spatia vitae custodiebantur ut per horarum 
disposita clepsydras explicarentur, is nuncupatus 
Augustus ac sub hac specie Palatinis liminibus 
inclusus ante crepusculum ingemuit quod ad vota 
pervenerat. cumque mole curarum pristinae quietis 
tenere dimensum prohiberetur, veteris actutum 
regulae legibus renuntiavit atque perspexit pariter 
ire non posse negotium principis et otium senatoris. 
5. nee fefellerunt futura maerentem; namque 
cum ceteros aulicos honores tranquillissime per- 
currisset, ipsam aulam turbulentissime rexit inter 
tumultus militum popularium foederatorum ; quod 
et exitus prodidit novus celer acerbus, quem cruen- 
tavit Fortunae diu lenocinantis perfidus finis, quae 
virum ut scorpios ultima sui parte percussit. dicere 
solebat vir litteratus atque ob ingenii merita quaes- 


to be under a master could not bear to be a master 
himself. 4. Now go back over the record of this man 
again and put in one scale his early Hfe with its popu- 
larity, its power, and its long years of enjoyment, and 
in. the other the beginning, the tumult and the end- 
ing of a principate which lasted for little more than 
two months : you will assuredly find that the man was 
more blest before the time when men spoke of him 
as Most Blessed. In his earlier Hfe his hospitaUties 
and his character, his wealth and his display, his 
literary reputation and his magistracies, his estate 
and his roll of clients, were splendid indeed ; the 
very division of his time was so carefully looked 
after that it was measured and arranged by the 
hourly periods of the clock. But when he received 
the title of Augustus and was imprisoned on this 
pretence behind the doors of the palace, he groaned 
before evening that he had reached his ambition. 
A mass of responsibilities pressed upon him, and he 
could not maintain the programme of his earlier 
restful life ; he at once abandoned the rules by which 
he had long regulated his existence, and understood 
that the business of an emperor and the quiet life 
of a senator could not go together. 5. His gloomy 
anticipations did not go unfulfilled, for although he 
had passed through all the other high offices of the 
court in peace and quietness, he actually ruled the 
court with violence, amid risings of the soldiers, 
the citizens, and the allied peoples; and all this 
was revealed also by his end, which was strange, 
swift and bitter: after fortune had long flattered 
him, her treacherous last act bathed him in blood, 
for like a scorpion she struck her favourite down with 
the tail-end. A man of culture who reached the rank 



torius, partium certe bonarum pars magna, Ful- 
gentius, ore se ex eius frequenter audisse, cum 
perosus pondus imperii veterem securitatem de- 
sideraret : " felicem te, Damocles, qui non uno 
longius prandio regni necessitatem toleravisti." 
6. iste enim, ut legimus, Damocles provincia Siculus, 
urbe Syracusanus, familiaris tyranno Dionysio fuit. 
qui cum nimiis laudibus bona patroni ut cetera 
scilicet inexpertus efferret; *' vis," inquit Dionysius, 
" hodie saltim in hac mensa bonis meis pariter 
ac malis uti?" " libenter," inquit.^ tunc ille con- 
festim laetum clientem quamquam et attonitum 
])lebeio tegmine erepto muricis Tyrii seu Tarentini 
conchyliato ditat indutu et renidentem gemmis 
margaritisque aureo lecto sericatoque toreumati 
imponit. 7. cumque pransuro Sardanapallicum in 
morem panis daretur e Leontina segete confectus, 
insuper dapes cultae ferculis cultioribus apponerentur, 
spumarent Falerno gemmae capaces inque crystallis 
calerent unguenta glacialibus, hue ^ suffita cinnamo 
ac ture cenatio spargeret peregrinos naribus odores 
et madescentes nardo capillos circumfusa florum 
serta siccarent, coepit supra tergum sic recumbentis 
repente vibrari mucro destrictus e lacunaribus, qui 
* inquain LN^. * hue LN^ : hinc. 

^ For the meaning of toreuma see n. on I. 2. 6. 



of quaestor by virtue of his talents and who himself 
played a leading part in the good party (his name is 
P'ulgentius) used to say that he had often heard 
fiom the man's very lips, when he was disgusted with 
the weight of empire and longed for the old tran- 
quillity, the cry : " Happy you, Damocles, who had 
not to submit to the obligation of kingship for more 
than the duration of a single meal! " 6. Now this 
Damocles, as we read, a Sicilian by country and a 
Syracusan by citizenship, was an intimate of the 
prince Dionysius. When he praised in effusive terms 
the happy lot of his patron, having, of course, no 
means of knowing the other side of the picture, 
Dionysius said to him, " Would you like this very day, 
just for the duration of this meal, to enjoy my bless- 
ings and my ills alike ? " "Willingly," said he. With- 
out wasting a moment Dionysius stripped the humble 
robe from the back of his delighted but amazed 
vassal, glorified him with a purple-dyed robe of the 
mollusc of Tyre or of Tarentum, and set him, all 
resplendent with jewels and pearls, on a golden 
couch with a silk cover over the bedding. ^ 
7. He was preparing to dine in the fashion of Sar- 
danapallus ; bread was handed him baked from the 
harvest of Leontini, and choice meats were set before 
him on dishes still more choice ; large jewelled cups 
foamed with Falernian wine, and warm perfume lay 
in icy crystal ; the reek of cinnamon and frankincense 
pervaded the dining-hall, wafting foreign scents to 
the nostrils ; the encircling garlands of flowers were 
drying up the guests' nard-soaked hair. But 
suddenly, as he thus reposed, a naked sword which 
hung from the panelled ceiling began to shake over 
his shoulders, and seemed each moment about to fall 



te moraturum; quo loci tibi cum ferax vinea est, 
turn praeter ipsam praedium magno non minus 
domino, quod te tuosque plurifaria frugum man- 
sionumque dote remoretur. 2. ilicet si horreis 
apothecisque seu penu impleta destinas illic usque 
ad adventum hirundineum vel ciconinum lani Numae- 
que ninguidos menses in otio fuliginoso sive tunicata 
quiet e transmittere, nobis quoque parum in oppido 
fructuosae protinus amputabuntur causae morarum, 
ut, dum ipse nimirum frueris rure, nos te fruamur, 
quibus, ut recognoscis, non magis cordi est aut 
voluptati ager cum reditibus amplis quam vicinus 
aequalis cum bonis moribus. vale. 



have not only a fertile vineyard but also a farm which 
is as great as is its great owner, to keep hold of you 
and your company by its manifold endowment of grain 
and dwelling-places. 2. Well then, if it is your 
intention, when your barns, storehouses and house- 
hold stores have been duly replenished, to spend the 
snowy months of Janus and Numa ^ there in sooty 
idleness or " ungowned ease," ^ remaining until the 
coming of the swallow and the stork, I too will at 
once cut short my unfruitful excuses for lingering in 
town, so that while you, of course, enjoy the fruits 
of your land, I at the same time may enjoy the 
fruits of your society ; for (as you well know) an 
estate making large returns is no more attractive 
and delightful to me than a neighbour of my own 
age and of high character. Farewell. 

^ January and February. " Martial X. 51. 6. 


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Things Heard, Mechanical Problems, On Indivisible Lines, 

On Situations and Names of Winds, On Melissus, Xenophanes, 

and Gorgias. 
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strong; (with Metaphysics, Vol. II.). 
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Daphnis and Chloe. Thomley's Translation revised by 

J. M. Edmonds; and Parthenius. S. Gaselee. 
Demosthenes I.: Olynthiacs, Philippics and Minor Ora- 
tions. I.-XVII. AND XX. J. H. Vince. 
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man's translation revised by E. Cary. 7 Vols. 
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Babrius (Greek) and Phaedrus (Latin). Ben E. Perry. 















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